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Strategic voting in proportional systems: the case of Finland

[working paper]

Gschwend, Thomas; Stoiber, Michael

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Corporate Editor Institut für Höhere Studien (IHS), Wien
Abstract Voters try to avoid wasting their votes even in PR systems. In this paper we make a case that this type of strategic voting can be observed and predicted even in PR systems. Contrary to the literature we do not see weak institutional incentive structures as indicative of a hopeless endeavor for studying strategic voting. The crucial question for strategic voting is how institutional incentives constrain an individual’s decision-making process. Based on expected utility maximization we put forward a micro-logic of an individual’s expectation formation process driven by institutional and dispositional incentives. All well-known institutional incentives to vote strategically that get channelled through the district magnitude are moderated by dispositional factors in order to become relevant for voting decisions. Employing data from Finland – because of its electoral system a particularly hard testing ground - we find considerable evidence for observable implications of our theory.
Keywords election; voting behavior; decision making; electoral system; election by proportional representation; electoral district; parliamentary election; Finland; voting; strategy; utility; maximization
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture
Document language English
Publication Year 2014
City Wien
Page/Pages 24 p.
Series Reihe Politikwissenschaft / Institut für Höhere Studien, Abt. Politikwissenschaft, 138
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications