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Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments

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  • Alessandra Casella

Abstract

The paper studies a voting scheme where members of a committee voting sequentially on a known series of binary proposals are each granted a single extra bonus vote to cast as desired - a streamlined version of Storable Votes. When the order of the agenda is exogenous, a simple sufficient condition guarantees the existence of welfare gains, relative to simple majority voting. But if one of the voters controls the order of the agenda, does the scheme become less efficient? The endogeneity of the agenda gives rise to a cheap talk game, where the chair can use the order of proposals to transmit information about his priorities. The game has multiple equilibria, differing systematically in the precision of the information transmitted. The chair can indeed benefit, but the aggregate welfare effects are of ambiguous sign and very small in all parameterizations studied. The theoretical conclusions are tested through laboratory experiments. Subjects have difficulty identifying the informative strategies, and tend to cast the bonus vote on their highest intensity proposal. As a result, realized payoffs are effectively identical to what they would be if the agenda were exogenous. The bonus vote matters; the chair's control of the agenda does not.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14487.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14487

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  1. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2005. "Minorities and Storable Votes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1583, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1988. "Cheap Talk Can Matter in Bargaining," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley qt3qz786xq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  3. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "An Experimental Study of Storable Votes," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1173, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Jackson, Matthew O. & Dutta, Bhaskar & Le Breton, Michele, 2002. "Equilibrium Agenda Formation," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 1152, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  6. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," NBER Working Papers 11375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Farrell, Joseph, 1995. "Talk Is Cheap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 186-90, May.
  8. Barry Sopher & Inigo Zapater, 1998. "Communication and Coordination in Signalling Games: An Experimental Study," Departmental Working Papers, Rutgers University, Department of Economics 199803, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  9. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  10. Casella, Alessandra, 2005. "Storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-419, May.
  11. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1991. "Testing for effects of cheap talk in a public goods game with private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 183-220, May.
  12. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
  13. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2012. "Qualitative voting," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , , vol. 24(4), pages 526-554, October.
  14. Matthew O Jackson & Hugo F Sonnenschein, 2007. "Overcoming Incentive Constraints by Linking Decisions -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 241-257, 01.
  15. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Casella, Alessandra, 2011. "Agenda control as a cheap talk game: Theory and experiments with Storable Votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 46-76, May.

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