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Let Them Burn Money: Making Elections More Informative

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  • Colin Campbell

    ()
    (Rutgers University)

Abstract

A standard election in which each voter chooses a single alternative permits voters little scope to express the intensity of their preferences. Allowing more complex statements of preferences may not alleviate the problem if voters behave strategically, as only certain statements are credible. I consider the implications of allowing voters to burn money as part of the voting procedure. In an environment with two alternatives and voters with interdependent values, I find necessary and sufficient conditions for all choice functions that are minimally responsive to voter preferences to be implementable with money burning. Furthermore, I show that any choice rule that treats ex-ante identical voters symmetrically can be implemented with an arbitrarily small amount of money burnt per voter as the set of voters is replicated. Thus, for a large electorate, the informational gains of money burning can be reaped at virtually no social cost.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200512.

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Date of creation: 15 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200512

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Keywords: Elections; Voting Mechanisms; Interdependent Values; Information Aggregation;

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  1. Casella, Alessandra, 2005. "Storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-419, May.
  2. Richard McLean & Andrew Postlewaite, . "Informational Size and Incentive Compatibility," CARESS Working Papres, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences 99-14, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
  3. RICHARD McLEAN & ANDREW POSTLEWAITE, 2004. "Informational Size and Efficient Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71, pages 809-827, 07.
  4. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," NBER Working Papers 11375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  7. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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