Choosing choices: Agenda selection with uncertain issues
AbstractThis paper studies selection rules i.e. the procedures committees use to choose whether to place an issue on their agenda. The main ingredient of the model is that committee members are uncertain about their final preferences at the selection stage: they only know the probability that they will eventually prefer the proposal to the status quo at the decision stage. This probability is private information. We find that a more stringent selection rule makes the voters more conservative. Hence individual behavior reinforces the effect of the rule instead of balancing it. For a voter, conditional on being pivotal, the probability that the proposal is adopted depends on which option she eventually favors. The probability that the proposal is adopted if she eventually prefers the proposal increases at a higher rate with the selection rule than if she eventually prefers the status quo. In order to compensate for that, the voters become more selective. The decision rule has the opposite effect. We describe optimal rules when there is a fixed cost of organizing the final election.
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selection rules ; strategic voting ; asymmetric information ; agenda setting ; large deviations ; petitions ; citizens' initiative;
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