Identifying the bandwagon effect in two-round elections

TitleIdentifying the bandwagon effect in two-round elections
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsKiss, Aron, and G. Simonovits
Journal titlePublic Choice

We propose a new method to test for the existence of the bandwagon effect, the
notion that voters are more likely to vote for a given candidate if they expect the candidate
to win. Two-round election systems with a large number of single-member districts offer
an ideal testing ground because results from the first round provide a better benchmark for
voter expectations than any possible alternative measure. Using data from the 2002 and
2006 general elections in Hungary, we find that the lead of a candidate in the first round
is magnified by about 10 percent in the second round, controlling for country-wide swings
of the electorate between the two rounds and for the behavior of voters of smaller parties.
A separate exercise suggests that at least part of the effect is caused by the lower probability
of individuals voting in the second round if their preferred candidate is likely to lose by a
large margin.

Publisher link
Department of Political Science
Doctoral School of Political Science, Public Policy and International Relations
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