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When voters lie…

When a rational American voter heads to the polls next month, we naturally assume they’ll be casting a vote for their favourite presidential candidate. Eddie Go explains how the plurality voting system used in US elections challenges this assumption and fosters the practice of insincere voting.

A ‘rational’ guide to voting at an election

This article forms part of an ongoing series looking at economic issues as Australia heads into the Federal Election. More coverage can be found on the Election 2013 page of ESSA’s website.

The application of economic principles to election voting is a relatively simple process. A completely rational individual would simply vote for the political party that would best enhance their personal utility. If everyone did this, in theory at least, the party whose vision and policies best represented the country would win at an election.

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An overview of the 2013 Australian federal election campaign

This article forms part of an ongoing series looking at economic issues as Australia heads into the Federal Election. More coverage can be found on the Election 2013 page of ESSA’s website.

The primary objective of a major party leader during an election campaign is to gain any advantage possible over one’s opponent. The incumbent ostensibly has a slight advantage in that they get to choose the election date.

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A ‘rational’ analysis of the ALP leadership debacle

What was Kevin Rudd thinking? Seriously. Why would anyone with an ostensibly insatiable desire for reclaiming the prime ministership let the precarious ambience of uncertainty develop to the extent that it did only to then decline an opportunity to challenge? Well, it turns out that Rudd was simply making the ‘optimal’ strategic choice given the circumstances he found himself in.

The leadership saga, for the most part, pertained to two closely related variables: firstly, whether Rudd would challenge Gillard by standing for the leadership in a caucus vote and, secondly, whether a majority of the 100 members eligible to vote in the Labor caucus would back Rudd in a ballot. The relationship between these is that, as was later confirmed, Rudd would only be comfortable challenging if he had a caucus majority and, additionally, the caucus members would only risk switching allegiances if they thought that Rudd would actually run for the leadership (due to the repercussions of supporting the loser in a ballot).

However, despite these two variables being inextricably linked, it’s important to note that other sources of influence further complicated the respective decision-making processes for both Rudd and caucus members.

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