An application of prospect theory on analysis of strategic voting: the effect of incumbency on reference point/
Aksoy, Faruk (2015) An application of prospect theory on analysis of strategic voting: the effect of incumbency on reference point/. [Thesis]
Prospect theory is one of the most influential decision making theories in social sciences. However, it has been ignored by the literature of strategic voting in which expected utility theory is widely preferred. In this study, I apply two claims of prospect theory, reference point dependency and loss aversion, on the analysis of strategic voting. The purpose of this study is to understand the impact of voter’s reference point on the probability that a voter casts strategic vote in election. Hypotheses are derived from a formal model which incorporates reference point and loss aversion into the analysis of strategic voting. The model predicts that voters, whose most preferred party or candidate is the incumbent, are more prone to vote strategically than voters, whose least preferred party or candidate is the incumbent. In addition to this, when the place of the incumbent in preference ranking of the voter in which, voter ranks parties/candidates in order of preference, increases; probability of strategic voting increases as well. To test these predictions, experiments were conducted with student and farmer subjects. Also, statistical analyses were done with survey data from the 2015 British Election Studies (BES) for the 2010 and the 2015 UK General Elections. Results from experiments and statistical analyses provide support for predictions of this study.
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