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When Moderate Voters Prefer Extreme Parties: Policy Balancingin Parliamentary Elections

  • ORIT KEDAR (a1)


This work develops and tests a theory of voter choice in parliamentary elections. I demonstrate that voters are concerned with policy outcomes and hence incorporate the way institutions convert votes to policy into their choices. Since policy is often the result of institutionalized multiparty bargaining and thus votes are watered down by power-sharing, voters often compensate for this watering-down by supporting parties whose positions differ from (and are often more extreme than) their own. I use this insight to reinterpret an ongoing debate between proximity and directional theories of voting, showing that voters prefer parties whose positions differ from their own views insofar as these parties pull policy in a desired direction. Utilizing data from four parliamentary democracies that vary in their institutional design, I test my theory and show how institutional context affects voter behavior.


Corresponding author

Orit Kedar is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan, ISR, P.O. Box 1248, Ann Arbor, MI 48106 (


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American Political Science Review
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