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Tailored Bayesian Mechanisms: Experimental Evidence from Two-Stage Voting Games

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  • Engelmann, Dirk
  • Grüner, Hans Peter

Abstract

Optimal voting rules have to be adjusted to the underlying distribution of preferences. However, in practice there usually is no social planner who can perform this task. This paper shows that the introduction of a stage at which agents may themselves choose voting rules according to which they decide in a second stage may increase the sum of individuals’ payoffs if players are not all completely selfish. We run three closely related experimental treatments (plus two control treatments) to understand how privately informed individuals decide when they choose voting rules and when they vote. Efficiency concerns play an important role on the rule choice stage whereas selfish behavior seems to dominate at the voting stage. Accordingly, in an asymmetric setting groups that can choose a voting rule do better than those who decide with a given simple majority voting rule.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9544.

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Date of creation: Jul 2013
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9544

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Keywords: Bayesian voting experiments; revelation principle.; Two-stage voting;

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  1. Werner Güth & Martin Hellwig, 1986. "The private supply of a public good," Journal of Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 46(1), pages 121-159, December.
  2. Segal, Ilya R. & Whinston, Michael D., 2011. "A simple status quo that ensures participation (with application to efficient bargaining)," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 6(1), January.
  3. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "Choosing How to Choose: Self Stable Majority Rules," Microeconomics, EconWPA 0211003, EconWPA.
  4. Peter Cramton & Robert Gibbons & Paul Klemperer, 1985. "Dissolving a Partnership Efficiently," Working papers 406, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2002. "Simple contracts, renegotiation under asymmetric information, and the hold-up problem," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 169-188, January.
  6. Ernst Fehr & Klaus M. Schmidt, 1999. "A Theory Of Fairness, Competition, And Cooperation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 817-868, August.
  7. Urs Fischbacher, 2007. "z-Tree: Zurich toolbox for ready-made economic experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-178, June.
  8. Schmitz, Patrick W. & Tröger, Thomas, 2012. "The (sub-)optimality of the majority rule," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 651-665.
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