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Wisdom of the crowd? Information aggregation in representative democracy

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  • Prato, Carlo
  • Wolton, Stephane

Abstract

The Condorcet Jury Theorem and subsequent literature establish the feasibility of information aggregation in a common-value environment with exogenous policy options: a large electorate of imperfectly informed voters almost always selects the correct policy option. Rather than directly voting for policies, citizens in modern representative democracies elect candidates who make strategic policy commitments. We show that intermediation by candidates sometimes improves policy choices and sometimes impedes information aggregation. Somewhat paradoxically, the possibility of information aggregation by voters encourages strategic conformism by candidates. Correlated information or partisan biases among voters can mitigate the political failure we uncover. We also discuss possible institutional solutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Prato, Carlo & Wolton, Stephane, 2022. "Wisdom of the crowd? Information aggregation in representative democracy," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 86-95.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:135:y:2022:i:c:p:86-95
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2022.05.010
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information aggregation; Elections; Representative democracy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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