Identification and Estimation of Preference Distributions When Voters Are Ideological

This paper studies the nonparametric identification and estimation of voters' preferences when voters are ideological. We build on the methods introduced by Degan and Merlo (2009) representing elections as Voronoi tessellations of the ideological space. We exploit the properties of this geometric structure to establish that voter preference distributions and other parameters of interest can be identified from aggregate electoral data. We also show that these objects can be consistently estimated using the methodology proposed by Ai and Chen (2003) and we illustrate our analysis by performing an actual estimation using data from the 1999 European Parliament elections.

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