The Swing Voter's Curse

Timothy J. Feddersen, Wolfgang Pesendorfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

344 Scopus citations

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-424
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Volume86
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics

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    Feddersen, T. J., & Pesendorfer, W. (1996). The Swing Voter's Curse. American Economic Review, 86(3), 408-424.