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Open AccessArticle

A Laboratory Experiment for Analyzing Electors’ Strategic Behavior in a First-Past-the-Post System

1
Department of Economic Informatics and Cybernetics, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, 010552 Bucharest, Romania
2
Department of History, Bucharest University, 030167 Bucharest, Romania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Symmetry 2020, 12(7), 1081; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym12071081
Received: 24 May 2020 / Revised: 5 June 2020 / Accepted: 9 June 2020 / Published: 1 July 2020
As it is well acknowledged that the electoral system is one of the fundamental rocks of our modern society, the behavior of electors engaged in a voting system is of the utmost importance. In this context, the goal of the study is to model the behavior of voters in a first-past-the-post system and to analyze its consequences on a party system. Among the assumptions of this study is Duverger’s law, which states that first-past-the-post systems favor a two-party system as the voters engage in tactical voting, choosing to vote in favor of a less preferred candidate who has better odds of winning. In order to test this assumption and to better analyze the occurrence of the strategic behavior, a laboratory experiment was created. A total of 120 persons participated in the study. An asymmetrical payoff function was created to value the voters’ preference intensity. As a result, it was observed that as voters got used to the voting system, they engaged in more tactical voting behavior in order to either maximize the gain or minimize the loss of their choice. Moreover, the iterations where voters started displaying tactical behavior featured a clustering around two main choices. The obtained results are consistent with both the empirical results of real-life elections and Duverger’s law. A further discussion regarding the change in voters’ choice completes the analysis on the strategic behavior. View Full-Text
Keywords: strategic behavior; first-past-the-post; political science; tactical voting; Duverger’s law; utility functions; asymmetrical payoffs; decision change; aggregate behavior; complexity; democracy; symmetric information strategic behavior; first-past-the-post; political science; tactical voting; Duverger’s law; utility functions; asymmetrical payoffs; decision change; aggregate behavior; complexity; democracy; symmetric information
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Chiriță, A.; Delcea, C. A Laboratory Experiment for Analyzing Electors’ Strategic Behavior in a First-Past-the-Post System. Symmetry 2020, 12, 1081.

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