Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 229–245 | Cite as

Policy convergence under approval and plurality voting: the role of policy commitment

  • Arnaud Dellis
  • Mandar Oak
Original Paper


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.


Median Voter Political Competition Vote Strategy Policy Position Approval Vote 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of Hawaii – ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsWilliams CollegeWilliamstownUSA

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