You’re probably familiar with the idea that voting is ‘irrational’. Your one vote doesn’t matter. Sure, there’s some tiny probability that after you vote, your preferred candidate will end up winning by one vote – and in that scenario your vote truly did matter. But outside of that Hollywood script, your vote probably won’t decide the outcome. So why bother with the whole rigmarole of voting? Worse still, imagine that your preferred candidate isn’t even one of the frontrunners. If you support the Greens or the Libertarians, then your tiny probability of deciding the election just got a whole lot Continue reading What Can Dollar-Store Candy Teach Us About Voting? A Rational Choice Argument For Casting A Wasted Vote
Why do dictators win elections? The answer to this is relatively straightforward–they hold fixed elections. Everyone knows they’re fixed and everyone knows who will win before the balloting even begins. If the actual numerical results aren’t fixed, then the rules regarding who may contest the elections and who may vote in them certainly are. Dictatorial regimes hold elections to demonstrate to the world that, not only are they giving their citizens a choice in their leadership, but also that their citizens resoundingly love them and wouldn’t prefer a more representative, and perhaps less repressive, government. If all of that is Continue reading The Poor Tyrant!
Michael referred me to this Blog Entry, at Statistical Modeling, Causal Inference, and Social Science, that deals with the choices of US political parties. It links the idea of what the optimal behavior in business cycles should be to what the optimal behavior in electoral cycles should be. The blogger argues that it is in the best interest of a party to run new members when elections are expected to be in their party’s favor and to run incumbents when elections will not be in their party’s favor (since incumbency advantage will help). However, he points out that neither Democratic Continue reading Strategic Behavior? It’s all in the Eye of the Beholder