Information and Voting: the Wisdom of the Experts versus the Wisdom of the Masses
AbstractIn a common-values election with continuously distributed information quality, the incentive to pool private information conflicts with the swing voters curse. In equilibrium, therefore, some citizens abstain despite clear private opinions, and others vote despite having arbitrarily many peers with superior information. The dichotomy between one's own and others' information quality can explain the otherwise puzzling empirical relationship between education and turnout, and suggests the importance of relative information variables in explaining turnout, which I verify for U.S. primary elections. Though voluntary elections fail to utilize nonvoters' information, mandatory elections actually do worse; e¤orts to motivate turnout may actually reduce welfare.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP59.
Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
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This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2009-01-24 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2009-01-24 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-CTA-2009-01-24 (Contract Theory & Applications)
- NEP-POL-2009-01-24 (Positive Political Economics)
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