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Efficiency, Equity, and Timing in Voting Mechanisms

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  • Battaglini, Marco
  • Morton, Rebecca
  • Palfrey, Thomas

Abstract

We compare the behavior of voters, depending on whether they operate under sequential and simultaneous voting rules, when voting is costly and information is incomplete. In many real political institutions, ranging from small committees to mass elections, voting is sequential, which allows some voters to know the choices of earlier voters. For a stylized model, we characterize the equilibria for this rule, and compare it to simultaneous voting, and show how these equilibria vary for different voting costs. This generates a variety of predictions about the relative efficiency and equity of these two systems, which we test using controlled laboratory experiments. Most of the qualitative predictions are supported by the data, but there are significant departures from the predicted equilibrium strategies, in both the sequential and simultanous voting games. We find a tradeoff between information aggregation, efficiency, and equity in sequential voting: a sequential voting rule aggregates information better, and produces more efficient outcomes on average, compared to simultaneous voting, but sequential voting leads to significant inequities, with later voters benfitting at the expense of early voters.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy in its series Papers with number 09-19-2005c.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:prirpe:09-19-2005c

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References

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  1. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," NajEcon Working Paper Reviews 625018000000000232, www.najecon.org.
  3. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
  4. Steven Callander, 2007. "Bandwagons and Momentum in Sequential Voting," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 653-684.
  5. Battaglini, Marco, 2004. "Sequential Voting with Abstention," Papers, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy 05-19-2004, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  6. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
  7. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  8. Eddie Dekel & Michele Piccione, 2000. "Sequential Voting Procedures in Symmetric Binary Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 34-55, February.
  9. Eddie Dekel & Michele Piccione, 1997. "On the Equivalence of Simultaneous and Sequential Binary Elections," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1206, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Rothenberg, Lawrence S & Sanders, Mitchell S, 2000. " Legislator Turnout and the Calculus of Voting: The Determinants of Abstention in the U.S. Congress," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 103(3-4), pages 259-70, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006. "The Swing Voter’s Curse in the laboratory," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1263, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Arnaud Dellis & Sean D’Evelyn & Katerina Sherstyuk, 2011. "Multiple votes, ballot truncation and the two-party system: an experiment," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 171-200, July.
  3. Esteban F. Klory & Eyal Winter, 2006. "On Public Opinion Polls and Voters' Turnout," Levine's Working Paper Archive 321307000000000451, David K. Levine.
  4. Brian Knight & Nathan Schiff, 2010. "Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(6), pages 1110 - 1150.
  5. Iaryczower, Matias, 2007. "Strategic voting in sequential committees," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1275, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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