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The Swing Voter's Curse

Timothy J. Feddersen and Wolfgang Pesendorfer
The American Economic Review
Vol. 86, No. 3 (Jun., 1996), pp. 408-424
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118204
Page Count: 17
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The Swing Voter's Curse
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Abstract

We analyze two-candidate elections in which some voters are uncertain about the realization of a state variable that affects the utility of all voters. We demonstrate the existence of a swing voter's curse: less informed indifferent voters strictly prefer to abstain rather than vote for either candidate even when voting is costless. The swing voter's curse leads to the equilibrium result that a substantial fraction of the electorate will abstain even though all abstainers strictly prefer voting for one candidate over voting for another.

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