Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 43, Issue 2, pp 429–446 | Cite as

Policy convergence in a two-candidate probabilistic voting model

  • Alexei V. ZakharovEmail author
  • Constantine S. Sorokin
Original Paper


We propose a generalization of the probabilistic voting model in two-candidate elections. We allow the candidates have general von Neumann–Morgenstern utility functions defined over the voting outcomes. We show that the candidates will choose identical policy positions only if the electoral competition game is constant-sum, such as when both candidates are probability-of-win maximizers or vote share maximizers, or for a small set of functions that for each voter define the probability of voting for each candidate, given candidate policy positions. At the same time, a pure-strategy local Nash equilibrium (in which the candidates do not necessarily choose identical positions) exists for a large set of such functions. Hence, if the candidate payoffs are unrestricted, the “mean voter theorem” for probabilistic voting models is shown to hold only for a small set of probability of vote functions.


Nash Equilibrium Policy Position Vote Function Policy Platform Fair Lottery 
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.



Constantine Sorokin acknowledges the support of the HSE International Laboratory of Decision Choice and Analysis. Alexei Zakharov acknowledges the support of NES Center for the Study of Diversity and Social Interactions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Higher School of EconomicsMoscowRussia
  2. 2.Higher School of Economics International Laboratory of Decision Choice and AnalysisMoscowRussia

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