Coalition-Directed Voting as a Lottery


When voters support parties in multi-party democracies, it is often uncertain what coalition government the party is likely to join. How do voters deal with this type of uncertainty? In this paper, we use a conceptual analogy between coalition-directed voting and participating in a lottery to develop a novel conceptualization of coalition- directed voting. We present observational and experimental evidence that supports the idea that voters are risk-averse when considering coalition government options. The perception of uncertain coalition prospects of a party negatively affects the propensity to vote for parties, even when holding the expected coalition government payoffs constant. In a survey vignette experiment during the 2021 German federal election, we find that uncertain coalition prospects reduce the propensity to support a party, compared to certain coalition prospects with the same expected coalition government payoffs. The findings provide important insights for research on strategic voting theories and parties’ coalition strategies.

Working Paper (Under Review)
Oke Bahnsen
Oke Bahnsen

My research interests include agent-based modeling, causal inference, experimental research, coalition politics, and voting behavior.