Public information and electoral bias
We present a theory of voting that predicts that elections are more likely to be close, and voter turnout is more likely to be high when citizens possess better public information about the composition of the electorate. These findings suggest that providing more information to potential voters about aggregate political preferences (e.g., through pre-election polls or expert forecasts) may undermine the democratic process. Our analysis reveals that if the distribution of political preferences is common knowledge, then the unique type-symmetric equilibrium leads to a stark neutrality result in which each alternative is equally likely to win the election. By contrast, when citizens are ignorant about the preference distribution, the majority is more likely to win the election and expected voter turnout is lower. Welfare is, therefore, unambiguously higher when citizens possess less information about the preference distribution.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Roger B. Myerson, 1997.
"Large Poisson Games,"
1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Curtis R. Taylor & Huseyin Yildirim, 2006. "An Analysis of Rational Voting with Private Values and Cost Uncertainty," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000060, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997.
"Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information,"
Levine's Working Paper Archive
1560, David K. Levine.
- 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.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sorensen, 2001.
"The Strategy of Professional Forecasting,"
01-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2006.
"Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521855266, june. pag.
- Klor, Esteban F & Winter, Eyal, 2006.
"On Public Opinion Polls and Voters' Turnout,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
- Martinelli, Cesar, 2006.
"Would rational voters acquire costly information?,"
Journal of Economic Theory,
Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 225-251, July.
- DUTTA, Bhaskar & JACKSON, Matthew O. & LE BRETON, Michel, 1999.
"Strategic candidacy and voting procedures,"
CORE Discussion Papers
1999011, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
- Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
- Martin Osborne & Jeffry Rosenthal & Matthew A. Turner, 1998.
"Meetings with costly participation,"
mturner-98-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1994.
"Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games,"
1102, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Jacob Goeree & Jens Großer, 2007. "Welfare Reducing Polls," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 51-68, April.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:68:y:2010:i:1:p:353-375. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.