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Information Aggregation in Polls

Author

Listed:
  • John Morgan
  • Phillip C. Stocken

Abstract

We study information transmission via polling. A policymaker polls constituents, who differ in their information and ideology, to determine policy. Full revelation is an equilibrium in a poll with a small sample, but not with a large one. In large polls, full information aggregation can arise in an equilibrium where constituents endogenously sort themselves into centrists, who respond truthfully, and extremists, who do not. We find polling statistics that ignore strategic behavior yield biased estimators and mischaracterize the poll's margin of error. We construct estimators that account for strategic behavior. Finally, we compare polls and elections.

Suggested Citation

  • John Morgan & Phillip C. Stocken, 2008. "Information Aggregation in Polls," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 864-896, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:98:y:2008:i:3:p:864-96
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.864
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Polls are useless
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2008-09-29 13:02:00

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Junichiro Ishida & Takashi Shimizu, 2016. "Cheap talk with an informed receiver," Economic Theory Bulletin, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 4(1), pages 61-72, April.
    2. Bargagliotti, Anna E. & Li, Lingfang (Ivy), 2009. "Decision Making Using Rating Systems: When Scale Meets Binary," MPRA Paper 16947, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Asuman Ozdaglar, 2011. "Opinion Dynamics and Learning in Social Networks," Dynamic Games and Applications, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 3-49, March.
    4. McMurray, Joseph, 2017. "Voting as communicating: Mandates, multiple candidates, and the signaling voter's curse," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 199-223.
    5. Christopher Duquette & Franklin Mixon & Richard Cebula & Kamal Upadhyaya, 2014. "Prediction Markets and Election Polling: Granger Causality Tests Using InTrade and RealClearPolitics Data," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 42(4), pages 357-366, December.
    6. Rausser, Gordon C. & Simon, Leo K. & Zhao, Jinhua, 2008. "Rational Exaggeration in Information Aggregation Games," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9nc4n5s6, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.
    7. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2012. "On the optimal number of representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 419-445, December.
    8. Bernhardt, Dan & Duggan, John & Squintani, Francesco, 2009. "Private polling in elections and voter welfare," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(5), pages 2021-2056, September.
    9. Galeotti, Andrea & Ghiglino, Christian & Squintani, Francesco, 2013. "Strategic information transmission networks," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1751-1769.
    10. Andonie, Costel & Kuzmics, Christoph, 2012. "Pre-election polls as strategic coordination devices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 681-700.
    11. Torun Dewan & Andrea Galeotti & Christian Ghiglino & Francesco Squintani, 2015. "Information aggregation and optimal structure of the executive," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59632, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Frommeyer, Tim, 2015. "On Two-Period Committee Voting: Why Straw Polls Should Have Consequences," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112806, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    13. Hummel, Patrick, 2011. "Abstention and signaling in large repeated elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 586-593, June.
    14. Gordon Rausser & Leo Simon & Jinhua Zhao, 2015. "Rational exaggeration and counter-exaggeration in information aggregation games," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 59(1), pages 109-146, May.
    15. Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2010. "Cost Benefit Analyses versus Referenda," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 156-187, February.
    16. Kawamura, Kohei, 2013. "Eliciting information from a large population," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 103(C), pages 44-54.
    17. Zsolt Katona, 2015. "Democracy in product design: Consumer participation and differentiation strategies," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 359-394, December.
    18. Patrick Hummel & John Morgan & Phillip C. Stocken, 2013. "A model of flops," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 44(4), pages 585-609, December.
    19. Kawamura, Kohei, 2008. "Communication for Public Goods," SIRE Discussion Papers 2008-25, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    20. McGee, Andrew & Yang, Huanxing, 2013. "Cheap talk with two senders and complementary information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 181-191.
    21. Curtis R. Taylor & Huseyin Yildirim, 2006. "An Analysis of Rational Voting with Private Values and Cost Uncertainty," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000060, UCLA Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods

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