The swing voters’ blessing

Klingelhöfer, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-6207-676X, 2020. The swing voters’ blessing. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 174, pp. 380-401. ISSN 0167-2681

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Two candidates commit to policy platforms before an election takes place. All voters care about the quality of the candidates as well as the policies they offer. However, the quality differences are only observable to a limited number of informed voters. I show that if all uninformed voters are fully rational, they follow a strategy of making their voting decisions dependent only on the position of their own policy bliss point relative to the median bliss point. As in the standard case with only informed voters, the candidate who is preferred by the median voter wins. In equilibrium, this is the higher quality candidate and the policy implemented is the same as if all voters had been fully informed. I show that the existence of boundedly rational uninformed ‘swing voters’ increases the welfare of the majority of voters. These swing voters do not consider the fact that their vote influences their utility only when their vote is pivotal. Consequently, they always support the candidate whose policy platform they prefer. In this scenario, the winning high quality candidate's policy is closer to the median voter's bliss point. This ‘swing voters’ blessing’ increases the welfare of the majority of voters.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Creators: Klingelhöfer, J.
Publisher: Elsevier BV
Date: June 2020
Volume: 174
ISSN: 0167-2681
Divisions: Schools > Nottingham Business School
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 01 Jul 2022 09:56
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2022 15:14

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