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Published 2005 | public
Book Section - Chapter

Probabilistic Voting in the Spatial Model of Elections: The Theory of Office-motivated Candidates


We unify and extend much of the literature on probabilistic voting in two-candidate elections. We give existence results for mixed and pure strategy equilibria of the electoral game. We prove general results on optimality of pure strategy equilibria vis-a-vis a weighted utilitarian social welfare function, and we derive the well-known "mean voter" result as a special case. We establish broad conditions under which pure strategy equilibria exhibit "policy coincidence," in the sense that candidates pick identical platforms. We establish the robustness of equilibria with respect to variations in demographic and informational parameters. We show that mixed and pure strategy equilibria of the game must be close to being in the majority rule core when the core is close to non-empty and voters are close to deterministic. This controverts the notion that the median (in a one-dimensional model) is a mere "artifact." Using an equivalence between a class of models including the binary Luce model and a class including additive utility shock models, we then derive a general result on optimality vis-a-vis the Nash social welfare function.

Additional Information

© 2005 Springer-Verlag. The second author gratefully acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation, grant number SES-0213738.

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August 19, 2023
January 13, 2024