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(Don't) Make My Vote Count

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Abstract

Proponents of proportional electoral rules often argue that majority rule depresses turnout and may lower welfare due to the 'tyranny of the majority' problem. The present paper studies the impact of electoral rules on turnout and social welfare. We analyze a model of instrumental voting where citizens have private information over their individual cost of voting and over the alternative they prefer. The electoral rule used to select the winning alternative is a combination of majority rule and proportional rule. Results show that these two arguments against majority rule do not hold in this set up. Social welfare and turnout increase with the weight that the electoral rule gives to majority rule when the electorate is expected to be split, and they are independent of the electoral rule employed when the expected size of the minority group tends to zero. However, more proportional rules can increase participation within the minority group. This effect is stronger the smaller the minority group. We then conclude that majority rule fosters overall turnout and increases social welfare, whereas proportional rule fosters the participation of minority groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh in its series ESE Discussion Papers with number 213.

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Length: 25
Date of creation: 16 May 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:esedps:213

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Related research

Keywords: Costly voting; Incomplete information; Majority rule; Proportional rule; Turnout.;

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References

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  1. Douglas M. Gale & Shachar Kariv & Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman, 2007. "Revealing Preferences Graphically: An Old Method Gets a New Tool Kit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 153-158, May.
  2. Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland M?ller & Dan Silverman, 2014. "Who Is (More) Rational?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1518-50, June.
  3. A. Fostel & H. Scarf & M. Todd, 2004. "Two new proofs of Afriat’s theorem," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 211-219, 07.
  4. Marcel Richter & Kam-Chau Wong, 2005. "Infinite inequality systems and cardinal revelations," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 947-971, November.
  5. Cherchye, L.J.H. & Rock, B. de & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2009. "Opening the black box of intra-household decision-making: Theory and non-parametric empirical tests of general collective consumption models," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3607141, Tilburg University.
  6. Donald J. Brown & Caterina Calsamiglia, 2005. "The Nonparametric Approach to Applied Welfare Analysis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1507, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  7. Richard Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian Crawford, 2002. "Nonparametric Engel Curves and Revealed Preference," CAM Working Papers 2002-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
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Cited by:
  1. Alejandro Saporiti, 2014. "Power sharing and electoral equilibrium," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 55(3), pages 705-729, April.

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