Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-m9kch Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-22T11:15:24.327Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Follow the majority? How voters coordinate electoral support to secure club goods

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 December 2020

Dominik Duell*
University of Essex, Colchester, UK
Corresponding author. Email:


Voters often favor candidates who benefit them individually but may coordinate their support with their social group on other candidates in exchange for policies targeting their group. In a laboratory experiment, I induce group identities to investigate the behavior of voters facing such trade-offs. I find that groups with low within heterogeneity often secure the club good from a candidate who is also individually beneficial to a majority of the group. In more heterogeneous groups, coordination on that candidate often fails and while the group still receives club goods, it is from a candidate whose policies are otherwise individually costly to most of the group. The results highlight the role strategic considerations play in the formation of group-based electoral coalitions.

Original Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the European Political Science Association

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Akerlof, G and Kranton, R (2000) Economics and identity. Quarterly Journal of Economics 115, 715753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bartels, L (1988) Presidential Primaries and the Dynamics of Public Choice. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Bassi, A, Morton, RB and Williams, KC (2011) The effects of identities, incentives, and information on voting. The Journal of Politics 73, 558571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bornstein, G (2003) Intergroup conflict: individual, group, and collective interests. Personality and Social Psychology Review 7, 129145.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bornstein, G, Gneezy, U and Nagel, R (2002) The effect of intergroup competition on group coordination: an experimental study. Games and Economic Behavior 41, 125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Carlson, E (2015) Ethnic voting and accountability in Africa: a choice experiment in Uganda. World Politics 67, 353385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chandra, K (2004) Why Ethnic Parties Succeed. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chen, Y and Li, S (2009) Group identity and social preferences. American Economic Review 99, 431457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chwe, MS-Y (2013) Rational Ritual: Culture, Coordination, and Common Knowledge. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Dickson, E and Scheve, K (2006) Social identity, political speech, and electoral competition. Journal of Theoretical Politics 18, 539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eckel, C and Grossman, P (2005) Managing diversity by creating team identity. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 58, 371392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eifert, B, Miguel, E and Posner, DN (2010) Political competition and ethnic identification in Africa. American Journal of Political Science 54, 494510.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ferree, K and Horowitz, J (2010) Ties that bind? The rise and decline of ethno-regional partisanship in Malawi, 1994–2009. Democratization 17, 534563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goeree, JK and Yariv, L (2015) Conformity in the lab. Journal of the Economic Science Association 1, 1528.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Goette, L, Huffman, D and Meier, S (2006) The impact of group membership on cooperation and norm enforcement: evidence using random assignment to real social groups. American Economic Review 96, 212216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gordon, S, Huber, G and Landa, D (2007) Challenger Entry and Voter Learning. American Political Science Review 101, 303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gottlieb, J, Grossman, G, Larreguy, H and Marx, B (2019) A signaling theory of distributive policy choice: evidence from Senegal. The Journal of Politics 81, 631647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harding, R (2015) Attribution and accountability: voting for roads in Ghana. World Politics 67, 656689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huddy, L (2001) From social to political identity: a critical examination of social identity theory. Political Psychology 22, 127156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Huddy, L (2013) From group identity to political cohesion and commitment. In Huddy, Leonie, Sears, David and Levy, Jack (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 737773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ichino, N and Nathan, NL (2013) Crossing the line: local ethnic geography and voting in Ghana. American Political Science Review 107, 344361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kitschelt, H and Wilkinson, SI (2007) Patrons, Clients and Policies: Patterns of Democratic Accountability and Political Competition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Klor, E and Shayo, M (2010) Social identity and preferences over redistribution. Journal of Public Economics 94, 269278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Landa, D and Duell, D (2015) Social identity and electoral accountability. American Journal of Political Science 59, 671689.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mebane, WR and Sekhon, JS (2002) Coordination and policy moderation at midterm. American Political Science Review 96, 141157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Michelitch, K (2015) Does electoral competition exacerbate interethnic or interpartisan economic discrimination? Evidence from a field experiment in market price bargaining. American Political Science Review 109, 4361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morton, RB (1991) Groups in rational turnout models. American Journal of Political Science 35(3), 758776.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morton, RB and Ou, K (2015) What motivates bandwagon voting behavior: altruism or a desire to win? European Journal of Political Economy 40, 224241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Morton, R and Williams, K (1999) Information asymmetries and simultaneous versus sequential voting. American Journal of Political Science 93, 5167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Schnakenberg, KE (2014) Group identity and symbolic political behavior. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 9, 137167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shayo, M (2009) A model of social identity with an application to political economy: nation, class, and redistribution. American Political Science Review 103, 147174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, A and De Mesquita, BB (2012) Contingent prize allocation and pivotal voting. British Journal of Political Science 42, 371392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stokes, SC (2005) Perverse accountability: a formal model of machine politics with evidence from Argentina. American Political Science Review 99, 315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Suhay, E (2015) Explaining group influence: the role of identity and emotion in political conformity and polarization. Political Behavior 37, 221251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tajfel, H and Billig, M (1974) Familiarity and categorization in intergroup behavior. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 10, 159170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weghorst, KR and Lindberg, SI (2013) What drives the swing voter in Africa? American Journal of Political Science 57, 717734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
White, IK, Laird, C and Allen, TD (2014) Selling out?: the politics of navigating conflicts between racial group interest and self-interest. American Political Science Review 108, 783800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: Link
Supplementary material: PDF

Duell Supplementary Materials

Duell Supplementary Materials

Download Duell Supplementary Materials(PDF)
PDF 533.9 KB