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.:
- Klor, Esteban F & Winter, Eyal, 2006.
"On Public Opinion Polls and Voters' Turnout,"
CEPR Discussion Papers
5669, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- 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.
- Cesar Martinelli, 2002.
"Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?,"
0210, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
- 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.
- Marco Ottaviani & Peter Norman Sorensen, 2001.
"The Strategy of Professional Forecasting,"
01-09, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
- Dutta, Bhaskar & Jackson, Matthew O & Le Breton, Michel, 2001.
"Strategic Candidacy and Voting Procedures,"
Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 1013-37, July.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1998.
"Population uncertainty and Poisson games,"
International Journal of Game Theory,
Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 27(3), pages 375-392.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009.
"Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy,"
Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422, Junio.
- 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.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997.
"Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information,"
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.
- Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
- Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
- Jeffrey S. Rosenthal & Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2000.
"Meetings with Costly Participation,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 927-943, September.
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: (Shamier, Wendy)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.