French Presidential Election: A Field Experiment on the Single Transferable Vote

  • Etienne Farvaque
  • Hubert Jayet
  • Lionel Ragot
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 25)


In this paper, we expose the results of a voting experiment realized in 2007, during the French Presidential election. This experiment aimed at confronting the single transferable vote (STV) procedure with two criteria: simplicity and the selection of a Condorcet-winner. Building on our electoral sample’s preferences, we show that this voting procedure can design a different winner, depending on the vote counting process. With the vote counting process advocated by Hare, the winner is Nicolas Sarkozy, while the Coombs vote counting process has François Bayrou as winner. For these two vote counting processes, the details of the experiment are the same and it is shown that the simplicity criterion is respected. However, with regard to the Condorcet-winner criterion, the Coombs method is the only one to elect the Condorcet-winner, i.e., François Bayrou.


Presidential Election Electoral System Condorcet Winner Approval Vote Vote Counting 
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We thank Bernard Dolez, Bernard Grofman, Abel François, Guillaume Hollard, Annie Laurent, Pierre-Guillaume Méon, Remzi Sanver, Nicolas Sauger, and participants in the conference on “Reforming the French Presidential election system: experiments on electoral reform” (Paris, June 2009), and in the 10th Congress of the French Political Studies Association (Grenoble, September 2009). We also acknowledge the helpful assistance from the city of Fâches-Thumesnil, and the enthusiastic help provided by the students of the Master Program in “Economie et Administration Publique” of the University of Lille 1. Any remaining error or omission would be ours.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.EQUIPPE, Faculté des sciences économiques et socialesUniversité de Lille 1Villeneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance
  2. 2.EQUIPPE, Université de Lille and CESUniversité Paris 1 Panthéon-SorbonneParisFrance

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