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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 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. Triossi, Matteo, 2013. "Costly information acquisition. Is it better to toss a coin?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 169-191.
    2. Lind, Jo Thori & Rhoner, Dominic, 2011. "Knowledge is Power: A Theory of Information, Income, and Welfare Spending," Memorandum, Oslo University, Department of Economics 26/2011, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    3. Piolatto, A. & Schuett, F., 2013. "Media Competition and Electoral Politics," Discussion Paper, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research 2013-072, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Ming Li & Dipjyoti Majumdar, 2010. "A Psychologically Based Model of Voter Turnout," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 12(5), pages 979-1002, October.
    5. Bruns, Christian, 2013. "Elections and Market Provision of Information," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79857, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Alan Hamlin & Colin Jennings, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," Working Papers, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics 0918, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    7. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.
    8. Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2014. "The Voters' Curses: The Upsides and Downsides of Political Engagement," MPRA Paper 53482, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2009. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," SIRE Discussion Papers, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) 2009-41, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).

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