Conflicted voters: A spatial voting model with multiple party identifications

Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde, João V. Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper, we develop a unified spatial model of turnout and voting behaviors in which citizens can identify with one or two parties. We show the existence of a conflicted voter's curse: If there is no position that reconciles the ideological views of both parties, it is always rational for citizens that identify with two parties to abstain even if they are a majority. In a two-candidate electoral competition, the conflicted voter's curse implies that candidates converge to the center of the political domain if and only if conflicted voters are pivotal and the parties have shared ideological views. Otherwise, we show that candidates may converge or diverge depending upon the degree of party polarization and whether candidates care about ideology or not. Our analysis suggests that the behavior of conflicted voters may be relevant for electoral outcomes and public choice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-379
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier B.V.


  • Conflicted voters
  • Electoral competition
  • Party identification
  • Party polarization
  • Spatial voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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