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Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments

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  • Casella, Alessandra

Abstract

The paper studies a voting scheme where members of a committee voting sequentially on a known series of binary proposals are each granted a single extra bonus vote to cast as desired - a streamlined version of Storable Votes. When the order of the agenda is exogenous, a simple sufficient condition guarantees the existence of welfare gains, relative to simple majority voting. But if one of the voters controls the order of the agenda, does the scheme become less efficient? The endogeneity of the agenda gives rise to a cheap talk game, where the chair can use the order of proposals to transmit information about his priorities. The game has multiple equilibria, differing systematically in the precision of the information transmitted. The chair can indeed benefit, but the aggregate welfare effects are of ambiguous sign and very small in all parameterizations studied. The theoretical conclusions are tested through laboratory experiments. Subjects have difficulty identifying the informative strategies, and tend to cast the bonus vote on their highest intensity proposal. As a result, realized payoffs are effectively identical to what they would be if the agenda were exogenous. The bonus vote matters; the chair's control of the agenda does not.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7050.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7050

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Keywords: agenda power; cheap talk; committees; storable votes; voting;

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  1. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-51, November.
  2. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2005. "Minorities and Storable Votes," Economics Working Papers 0059, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "An experimental study of storable votes," Discussion Papers 0304-01, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable votes," Discussion Papers 0102-71, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  5. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  6. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1991. "Testing for effects of cheap talk in a public goods game with private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 183-220, May.
  7. Matthew O Jackson & Hugo F Sonnenschein, 2007. "Overcoming Incentive Constraints by Linking Decisions -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 241-257, 01.
  8. Dutta, Bhaskar & Jackson, Matthew O. & Breton, Michel Le, 2002. "Equilibrium Agenda Formation," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 628, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  9. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1988. "Cheap Talk Can Matter in Bargaining," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3qz786xq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  10. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," NBER Working Papers 11375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
  13. Farrell, Joseph, 1995. "Talk Is Cheap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 186-90, May.
  14. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
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