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Minorities and Storable Votes

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  • Alessandra Casella
  • Thomas Palfrey
  • Raymond Riezman

Abstract

The paper studies a simple voting system that has the potential to increase the power of minorities without sacrificing aggregate efficiency. Storable votes grant each voter a stock of votes to spend as desidered over a series of binary decisions. By cumulating votes on issues that it deems most important, the minority can win occasionally. But because the majority typically can outvote it, the minority wins only of its strength of preferences is high and the majority's strength of preferences is low. The result is that aggregate efficiency either falls little or in fact rises. The theoretical predictions are confirmed by a series of experiments: the frequency of minority victories, the relative payoff of the minority versus the majority, and the aggregate payoffs all match the theory.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11674.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11674.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Publication status: published as Casella, Alessandra & Palfrey, Thomas & Riezman, Raymond, 2008. "Minorities and Storable Votes," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 3(2), pages 165-200, July.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11674

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  1. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable votes," Discussion Papers 0102-71, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R, 2003. "An Experimental Study of Storable Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 4081, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Paul Milgrom & Robert Weber, 1981. "Distributional Strategies for Games with Incomplete Information," Discussion Papers 428R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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