Costly information acquisition. Better to toss a coin?
AbstractCitizens have little and uneven levels of political knowledge, consistently with the rational ignorance hypothesis. The paper presents a strategic model of common value elections with endogenous information acquisition accounting for these facts. It proves, that contrary to the most optimistic positions about direct democracy, majoritarian elections can fail to aggregate information, when voters have heterogeneous skills. Informational inefficiencies can be partially corrected by improving the skills of the electorate as the population increase or by limiting participation to most competent citizens. The first interpretation is consistent with Rousseau view that an educated citizenry is necessary for a well functioning democracy. The second interpretation provides rational foundations for an epistocratic form of government. JEL Classification Numbers: C72, D72, D82. Keywords: Costly Information Acquisition, Condorcet Jury Theorem.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centro de Economía Aplicada, Universidad de Chile in its series Documentos de Trabajo with number 267.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-03-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2010-03-28 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2010-03-28 (Positive Political Economics)
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