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One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation

Listed author(s):
  • 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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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.3982/ECTA9111
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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
DOI: ECTA9111
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  1. Jean-François Laslier, 2004. "Strategic Approval Voting in a large electorate," Working Papers hal-00242909, HAL.
  2. Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1248-1288, June.
  3. 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.
  4. César Martinelli, 2002. "Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 19(4), pages 901-919.
  5. Robert J. Weber, 1995. "Approval Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 39-49, Winter.
  6. Myerson, Roger B., 1998. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 111-131, October.
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  8. 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.
  9. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1029-1058, September.
  10. Micael Castanheira, 2003. "Why Vote For Losers?," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(5), pages 1207-1238, 09.
  11. 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.
  12. Fox, Gerald & Phillips, Earl N., 2003. "Interrelationship between presidential approval, presidential votes and macroeconomic performance, 1948-2000," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 411-424, September.
  13. Ahn, David S. & Oliveros, Santiago, 2016. "Approval voting and scoring rules with common values," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 166(C), pages 304-310.
  14. Roger B. Myerson, 1998. "Population uncertainty and Poisson games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
  15. Steven Brams & Peter Fishburn, 2005. "Going from theory to practice: the mixed success of approval voting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 25(2), pages 457-474, December.
  16. repec:pit:wpaper:325 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  18. David P. Myatt & Torun Dewan, 2006. "Leading the Party: Coordination, Direction, and Communication," Economics Series Working Papers 280, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  19. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
  20. Thomas Piketty, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 169-191.
  21. 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.
  22. Myerson, Roger B., 2002. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 219-251, March.
  23. Francesco Sinopoli & Bhaskar Dutta & Jean-François Laslier, 2006. "Approval voting: three examples," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 27-38, December.
  24. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2013. "Preference Monotonicity and Information Aggregation in Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 1229-1247, 05.
  25. David P. Myatt, 2007. "On the Theory of Strategic Voting -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 255-281.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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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