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An Experimental Study of Storable Votes

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  • Alessandra Casella
  • Andrew Gelman
  • Thomas R. Palfrey

Abstract

The storable votes mechanism is a method of voting for committees that meet periodically to consider a series of binary decisions. Each member is allocated a fixed budget of votes to be cast as desired over the multiple decisions. Voters are induced to spend more votes on those decisions that matter to them most, shifting the ex ante probability of winning away from decisions they value less and towards decisions they value more, typically generating welfare gains over standard majority voting with non-storable votes. The equilibrium strategies have a very intuitive feature---the number of votes cast must be monotonic in the voter's intensity of preferences---but are otherwise difficult to calculate, raising questions of practical implementation. In our experiments, realized efficiency levels were remarkably close to theoretical equilibrium predictions, while subjects adopted monotonic but off-equilibrium strategies. We are lead to conclude that concerns about the complexity of the game may have limited practical relevance.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9982.

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Date of creation: Sep 2003
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Publication status: published as Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006. "An experimental study of storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 123-154, October.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9982

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  1. 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.
  2. Casella, Alessandra & Palfrey, Thomas R & Riezman, Raymond, 2005. "Minorities and Storable Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 5278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "An experimental study of storable votes," Discussion Papers 0304-01, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  4. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
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  10. Jeffrey S. Rosenthal & Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2000. "Meetings with Costly Participation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 927-943, September.
  11. d'Aspremont, Claude & Cremer, Jacques & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1990. "Incentives and the existence of Pareto-optimal revelation mechanisms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 233-254, August.
  12. Tilman Borgers, 2004. "Costly Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 57-66, March.
  13. Casella, Alessandra, 2002. "Storable Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. McKelvey Richard D. & Palfrey Thomas R., 1995. "Quantal Response Equilibria for Normal Form Games," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 6-38, July.
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