Policy convergence under approval and plurality voting: the role of policy commitment
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Proponents of Approval Voting argue that this electoral rule leads to more centrist outcomes compared to Plurality Voting. This claim has been substantiated by scholarly work using spatial models of political competition. We revisit this issue in the context of a model of political competition in which (1) candidates are policy-motivated; (2) candidacy decisions are endogenous; and (3) candidates can credibly commit to implementing any policy. Under these assumptions we find the opposite to be true – Plurality Voting yields convergence to the median voter’s ideal policy but Approval Voting may not. We argue that this result is driven by the differential incentives for candidate entry under the two voting rules. Our results suggest that whether Approval Voting yields more centrist outcomes vis-á-vis Plurality Voting depends on the possibility of policy commitment on the part of the candidates.
KeywordsMedian Voter Political Competition Vote Strategy Policy Position Approval Vote
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