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Mechanisms for Efficient Voting with Private Information about Preferences


  • Dirk Engelmann
  • Veronika Grimm


We experimentally study behavior in a simple voting game where players have private information about their preferences. With random matching, subjects overwhelmingly follow the dominant strategy to exaggerate their preferences, which leads to inefficiency. We analyze an exogenous linking mechanism suggested by Jackson and Sonnenschein (2007) as well as repeated interaction in different settings, which could allow endogenous linking mechanisms to evolve. We find that applying the exogenous mechanism captures nearly all achievable efficiency gains, whereas repeated interaction leads to significant gains in truthful representation and efficiency only in a setting where players can choose their partners.
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Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Engelmann & Veronika Grimm, 2012. "Mechanisms for Efficient Voting with Private Information about Preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 1010-1041, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:122:y:2012:i:563:p:1010-1041 DOI: j.1468-0297.2012.02515.x

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    Cited by:

    1. Casella, Alessandra & Turban, Sébastien, 2014. "Democracy undone. Systematic minority advantage in competitive vote markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 47-70.
    2. Alessandra Casella & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2012. "Competitive Equilibrium in Markets for Votes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 593-658.
    3. Todd R. Kaplan & Bradley J. Ruffle, 2012. "Which Way to Cooperate," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(563), pages 1042-1068, September.
    4. Urs Fischbacher & Simeon Schudy, 2014. "Reciprocity and resistance to comprehensive reform," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 411-428, September.
    5. Engelmann, Dirk & Grüner, Hans Peter & Hoffmann, Timo & Possajennikov, Alex, 2017. "Preventing the Tyranny of the Majority - Experimental Evidence on the Choice of Voting Thresholds in Bayesian Games," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168295, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Rafael Hortala-Vallve & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Rosemarie Nagel, 2013. "The role of information in different bargaining protocols," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(1), pages 88-113, March.
    7. Goeree, Jacob K. & Zhang, Jingjing, 2017. "One man, one bid," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 151-171.
    8. Todd R. Kaplan, Bradley J. Ruffle, Ze'ev Shtudiner, 2017. "Cooperation through Coordination in Two Stages," LCERPA Working Papers 0105, Laurier Centre for Economic Research and Policy Analysis, revised 30 Sep 2017.
    9. Hortala-Vallve, Rafael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2010. "A simple mechanism for resolving conflict," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 375-391, November.
    10. Todd R. Kaplan & Bradley J. Ruffle & Ze’ev Shtudiner, 2013. "Waiting To Cooperate?," Working Papers 1314, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
    11. Matsushima, Hitoshi & Miyazaki, Koichi & Yagi, Nobuyuki, 2010. "Role of linking mechanisms in multitask agency with hidden information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(6), pages 2241-2259, November.
    12. Todd Cherry & Stephen Cotten & Stephan Kroll, 2013. "Heterogeneity, Coordination and the Provision of Best-Shot Public Goods," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 16(4), pages 497-510, December.
    13. Kwiek, Maksymilian & Marreiros, Helia & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2016. "An experimental study of voting with costly delay," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 23-26.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D64 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Altruism; Philanthropy; Intergenerational Transfers
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General


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