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One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation

  • Laurent Bouton
  • Micael Castanheira

This paper compares the properties of three electoral systems when voters have imperfect information. Imperfect information blurs voter decisions and may divorce the electoral outcome from the true preferences of the electorate. The challenge for electoral design is therefore to translate the (sometimes contradictory) elements of information dispersed in the electorate into the most efficient aggregate outcome. We propose a novel model of multi-candidate elections in Poisson games, and show that Approval Voting produces a unique equilibrium that is fully efficient: the candidate who wins the election is the one preferred by a majority of the electorate under full information. By contrast, traditional systems such as Plurality and Runoff elections cannot cope satisfactorily with information imperfections.

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Article provided by Econometric Society in its journal Econometrica.

Volume (Year): 80 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 43-87

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Handle: RePEc:ecm:emetrp:v:80:y:2012:i:1:p:43-87
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  1. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2006. "Preference Monotonicity and Information Aggregation in Elections," Working Papers 325, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
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  5. Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Why vote for losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  6. César Martinelli, 2002. "Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 901-919.
  7. Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1248-88, June.
  8. Torun Dewan & David P. Myatt, 2006. "Leading the Party:Coordination, Direction, and Communication," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 22, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  9. Robert J. Weber, 1995. "Approval Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 39-49, Winter.
  10. GOERTZ, Johanna M.M. & MANIQUET, François, . "On the informational efficiency of simple scoring rules," CORE Discussion Papers RP -2326, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  12. Matias Nuñez, 2010. "Condorcet Consistency of Approval Voting: a Counter Example in Large Poisson Games," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 22(1), pages 64-84, January.
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  14. Steven Brams & Peter Fishburn, 2005. "Going from theory to practice: the mixed success of approval voting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 457-474, December.
  15. Jean-François Laslier, 2004. "Strategic Approval Voting in a large electorate," Working Papers hal-00242909, HAL.
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  17. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Population uncertainty and Poisson games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
  18. Roger B. Myerson & Robert J. Weber, 1988. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria," Discussion Papers 782, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  20. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  21. Piketty, Thomas, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(1), pages 169-91, January.
  22. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  23. David S. Ahny & Santiago Oliveros, 2013. "Approval Voting and Scoring Rules with Common Values," Economics Discussion Papers 732, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  24. Francesco Sinopoli & Bhaskar Dutta & Jean-François Laslier, 2006. "Approval voting: three examples," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 27-38, December.
  25. Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2009. "The Condorcet-Duverger Trade-Off: swing voters and voting equilibria," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/159859, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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