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One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation

  • Laurent Bouton
  • Micael Castanheira

This paper shows that information imperfections and common values can solve coordination problems in multicandidate elections. We analyze an election in which (i) the majority is divided between two alternatives and (ii) the minority backs a third alternative, which the majority views as strictly inferior. Standard analyses assume voters have a fi xed preference ordering over candidates. Coordination problems cannot be overcome in such a case, and it is possible that inferior candidates win. In our setup the majority is also divided as a result of information imperfections. The majority thus faces two problems: aggregating information and coordinating to defeat the minority candidate. We show that when the common value component is strong enough, approval voting produces full information and coordination equivalence: the equilibrium is unique and solves both problems. Thus, the need for information aggregation helps resolve the majority’s coordination problem under approval voting. This is not the case under standard electoral systems.

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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. 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.
  2. David S. Ahny & Santiago Oliveros, 2013. "Approval Voting and Scoring Rules with Common Values," Economics Discussion Papers 732, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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  5. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Population uncertainty and Poisson games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
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  8. Cesar Martinelli, 2000. "Simple Plurality versus Plurality Runoff with Privately Informed Voters," Working Papers 0004, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  9. Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/160854, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  10. Micael Castanheira, 2003. "Why Vote For Losers?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1207-1238, 09.
  11. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2013. "Preference Monotonicity and Information Aggregation in Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 1229-1247, 05.
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  13. Kim, Jaehoon & Fey, Mark, 2007. "The swing voter's curse with adversarial preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 236-252, July.
  14. 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.
  15. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Discussion Papers 1103, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  16. 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, 02.
  17. 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.
  18. Goertz, Johanna M.M. & Maniquet, François, 2011. "On the informational efficiency of simple scoring rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(4), pages 1464-1480, July.
  19. 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.
  20. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Discussion Papers 1214, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  21. Robert J. Weber, 1995. "Approval Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 39-49, Winter.
  22. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  23. 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.
  24. David P. Myatt & Torun Dewan, 2006. "Leading the Party: Coordination, Direction, and Communication," Economics Series Working Papers 280, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  25. 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.
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