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Ethical Voters and Costly Information Acquisition

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  • Feddersen, Timothy
  • Sandroni, Alvaro
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    Abstract

    Game-theoretic and statistical models have emphasized the desirable information aggregation properties of large elections. However, such models do not explain why voters choose to acquire costly information. In this paper we use an ethical voter model to endogenize the decision to acquire information. We show that a significant fraction of the electorate will acquire costly information. However, even with negligible costs of acquiring information a fraction of the electorate will remain uninformed. Moreover, we show that as the quality of information increases information aggregation properties of election improve, but the fraction of informed voters may decrease. This result stands in contrast to previous models where the information aggregation properties of elections are insensitive to changes in the fraction informed. In addition, changes in the quality or cost of information affect the relative likelihood that each candidate wins the election.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00000011
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by now publishers in its journal International Quarterly Journal of Political Science.

    Volume (Year): 1 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 287-311

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    Handle: RePEc:now:jlqjps:100.00000011

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    Web page: http://www.nowpublishers.com/

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    Cited by:
    1. Lind, J.T. & Rohner, D., 2011. "Knowledge is power: A theory of information, income and welfare spending," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1161, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    2. Piolatto, A. & Schuett, F., 2013. "Media Competition and Electoral Politics," Discussion Paper 2013-072, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    3. Ming Li & Dipjyoti Majumdar, 2006. "A psychologically-based model of voter turnout," Working Papers 08008, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
    4. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.
    5. Alan Hamlin & Colin Jennings, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," Working Papers 0918, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    6. Christian Bruns, 2013. "Elections and Market Provision of Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 4091, CESifo Group Munich.
    7. Triossi, Matteo, 2013. "Costly information acquisition. Is it better to toss a coin?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 169-191.
    8. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2014. "The Voters' Curses: The Upsides and Downsides of Political Engagement," MPRA Paper 53482, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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