Date Tuesday 23 February 2016
Venue Room 116 Sir Llew Edwards Building
Time 2:00 pm

Benjamin Solow

Boston University


I develop a model of strategic entry by candidates for office in runoff elections under aggregate uncertainty. I introduce aggregate uncertainty by making candidates unsure of the distribution of voter preferences in the electorate. The set of three candidate equilibria expands and equilibrium platforms become more diverse. These results provide a theoretical basis for Duverger’s Hypothesis, the claim that runoffs encourage entry by more than two candidates. Three candidate equilibria also feature three common empirical phenomena that existing literature fails to generate. First, some candidates choose to enter despite losing with certainty in equilibrium. Second, in some equilibria, a Condorcet winning candidate fails to win the election, and a Condorcet losing candidate wins with positive probability. Finally, some candidates who reach the second round may receive fewer votes than they receive in the first round.