Please don't vote for me: Voting in a natural experiment with perverse incentives

Jörg L. Spenkuch*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Whether individuals vote strategically is one of the most important questions at the intersection of economics and political science. Exploiting a flaw in the German electoral system by which a party may gain seats by receiving fewer votes, this article documents patterns of preference misrepresentation in a large, real-world election. During the 2005 elections to the Bundestag, the sudden death of a right-wing candidate necessitated a by-election in one electoral district. Knowing the results in all other districts and given the paradoxical incentives in place, a substantial fraction of the electorate voted for a party other than their most preferred one, or abstained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1025-1052
Number of pages28
JournalEconomic Journal
Issue number585
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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