Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 435–472 | Cite as

Strategic, sincere, and heuristic voting under four election rules: an experimental study

  • Karine Van der Straeten
  • Jean-François Laslier
  • Nicolas Sauger
  • André Blais
Original Paper

Abstract

We report on laboratory experiments on voting. In a setting where subjects have single-peaked preferences, we find that the rational choice theory provides very good predictions of actual individual behavior in one-round and approval voting elections but fares poorly in explaining vote choice under two-round elections. We conclude that voters behave strategically as far as strategic computations are not too demanding, in which case they rely on simple heuristics (under two-round voting) or they just vote sincerely (under single transferable vote).

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aldricht JH (1993) Rational choice and turnout. Am J Polit Sci 37: 246–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alvarez RM, Nagler J (2000) A new approach for modelling strategic voting in multiparty elections. Br J Polit Sci 30: 57–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bag PK, Sabourian H, Winter E (2009) Multi-stage voting, sequential elimination and Condorcet consistency. J Econ Theory 144: 1278–1299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blais A (2002) Why is there so little strategic voting in Canadian plurality rule elections?. Polit Stud 50: 445–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blais A (2004) Strategic voting in the 2002 French presidential election. In: Lewis-Beck MS (eds) The French Voter: before and after the 2002 elections. Palgrave, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Blais A, Bodet MA (2006) Measuring the propensity to vote strategically in a single-member district plurality system. University of Montréal, MimeoGoogle Scholar
  7. Blais A, Laslier J-F, Laurent A, Sauger N, Van der Straeten K (2007) One round versus two round elections: an experimental study. French Polit 5: 278–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Blais A, Labbé-St-Vincent S, Laslier J-F, Laurent A, Sauger N, Van der Straeten K (2010) Strategic vote choice in one round and two round elections. Polit Res Q (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  9. Cox GW (1997) Making votes count: strategic coordination in the world’s electoral systems. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  10. Davis DD, Holt C (1993) Experimental economics. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  11. Delli Carpini MX, Keeter S (1991) Stability and change in the US public’s knowledge of politics. Public Opin Q 55: 581–612Google Scholar
  12. Dellis A (2010) Policy moderation and endogeneous candidacy in approval voting elections. In: Laslier J-F, Sanver R (eds) Handbook of approval voting. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  13. Downs A (1957) An economic theory of democracy. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  14. Duverger M (1951) Les partis politiques. Armand Colin, ParisGoogle Scholar
  15. Eckel C, Holt C (1989) Strategic voting in agenda-controlled committee experiments. Am Econ Rev 79: 763–773Google Scholar
  16. Farrell DM (2001) Electoral systems: a comparative introduction. Palgrave, NewYorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Farrell D., McAllister I (2006) The Australian electoral system: origins, variations, and consequences. University of New South Wales Press, SydneyGoogle Scholar
  18. Felsenthal D, Rapoport A, Maoz Z (1988) Tacit cooperation in three alternative noncooperative voting games: a new model of sophisticated behavior under the plurality procedure. Electrol Stud 7: 143–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fisher S (2004) Definition and measurement of tactical voting: the role of rational choice. Br J Polit Sci 34:152–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Forstythe RT, Rietz A, Myerson RB, Weber RJ (1993) An experiment on coordination in multicandidate elections: the importance of polls and election histories. Social Choice Welf 10: 223–247Google Scholar
  21. Forstythe RT, Rietz A, Myerson RB, Weber RJ (1996) An experimental study of voting rules and polls in three-way elections. Int J Game Theory 25: 355–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Green DP, Shapiro I (1994) Pathologies of rational choice theory: a critique of applications in political science. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  23. Herzberg R, Wilson R (1988) Results on sophisticated voting in an experimental setting. J Polit 50: 471–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hildebrand DK, Laing JD, Rosenthal H (1977) Prediction analysis of cross classifications. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Kinder DR (1983) Diversity and complexity in American public opinion. In: Finiter A (eds) Political science: the state of the discipline. American Political Science Association, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  26. Kube S, Puppe C (2009) (When and how) do voters try to manipulate? Experimental evidence from Borda elections. Public Choice 139: 39–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kuklinski JH, Quirk PJ (2000) Reconsidering the rational public: cognition, heuristics, and mass opinion. In: Lupia A, McCubbins MD, Popkin SL (eds) Elements of reason: cognition, choice, and the bounds of rationality. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  28. Lago I (2008) Rational expectations or heuristics? Strategic voting in proportional representation systems. Party Politics 14: 31–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Laslier J-F (2009) The Leader Rule: a model of strategic approval voting in a large electorate. J Theor Polit 21: 113–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lau RR, Redlawsk DP (2001) Advantages and disadvantages of cognitive heuristics in political decision making. Am J Political Sci 45: 951–971CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lazarfeld P, Berelson BR, Gaudet H (1948) The People’s Choice: how the voter makes up his mind in a presidential campaign. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Lepelley D, Béhue V, Favardin P (2009) La manipulation stratégique des règless de vote: uneetude expérimentale. Rev Econ de Louvain 75: 503–516Google Scholar
  33. Lijphart A (1994) Electoral systems and party systems: a study of twenty-seven democracies, 1945–1990. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  34. Lupia, A, Mccubbins, MD, Popkin, SL (eds) (2000) Elements of reason: cognition, choice, and the bounds of rationality. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  35. Marcus GE (1988) The sentimental citizen: emotions in democratic politics. Pennsylvania State University, University Park PAGoogle Scholar
  36. McKelvey RD, Ordeshook PC (1985) Elections with limited information: a fulfilled expectations model using contemporaneous poll and endorsement data as information sources. J Econ Theory 36: 55–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Morton RB, Rietz TA (2008) Majority requirements and minority representation. N Y Univ Annu Surv Am Law 63: 691–726Google Scholar
  38. Moulin H (1979) Dominance solvable voting schemes. Econometrica 47: 1337–1352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Mutz Diana C (1992) Impersonal influence: effects of representations of public opinion on political attitudes. Political Behav 14: 89–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Myerson RB (1991) Game theory: analysis of conflict. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  41. Myerson RB, Weber RJ (1993) A theory of voting equilibria. Am Polit Sci Rev 87: 102–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Nisbett RE, Ross L (1980) Human inference: strategies and shortcomings of social judgement. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  43. Palfrey T (2006) Laboratory experiments. In: Weingast B, Wittman D (eds) Handbook of political economy. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 915–936Google Scholar
  44. Patty J (2007) Incommensurability and issue voting. J Theor Politics 19: 115–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Plott C, Levine M (1978) A model of agenda influence on committee decisions. Am Econ Rev 68: 146–160Google Scholar
  46. Popkin SL (1991) The reasoning voter: communication and persuasion in presidential campaigns. Chicago University Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  47. Rietz T (2008) Three-way experimental election results: strategic voting coordinated outcomes and Duverger’s Law. In: Plott C, Smith V (eds) The handbook of experimental economic results. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 889–897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Riker WH (1982) Liberalism against populism: a confrontation between the theory of democracy and the theory of social choice. W.H. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  49. Selten R (1975) Re-examination of the perfectness concept for equilibrium points in extensive games. Int J Game Theory 4: 25–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sniderman PM (1993) The new look in public opinion research. In: Finiter A (eds) Political science: the state of the discipline II. American Political Science Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  51. Sniderman PM, Tetlock PE, Brody RA (1991) Reasoning and choice: explorations in political psychology. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Taagerera R (2007) Electoral systems. In: Boix C, Stokes SC (eds) The Oxford handbook of comparative politics. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karine Van der Straeten
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jean-François Laslier
    • 3
  • Nicolas Sauger
    • 4
  • André Blais
    • 5
  1. 1.Toulouse School of EconomicsToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Paris School of EconomicsParisFrance
  3. 3.Ecole PolytechniquePalaiseauFrance
  4. 4.Sciences PoParisFrance
  5. 5.Université de MontréalMontréalCanada

Personalised recommendations