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The (sub-)optimality of the majority rule

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  • Schmitz, Patrick W.
  • Tröger, Thomas

Abstract

We consider collective choice from two alternatives. Ex-ante, each agent is uncertain about which alternative she prefers, and may be uncertain about the intensity of her preferences. An environment is given by a probability distribution over utility vectors that is symmetric across agents and neutral across alternatives. In many environments, the majority voting rule maximizes agentsʼ ex-ante expected utilities among all anonymous and dominant-strategy implementable choice rules. But in some environments where the agentsʼ utilities are stochastically correlated, other dominant-strategy choice rules are better for all agents. If utilities are stochastically independent across agents, majority voting is ex-ante optimal among all anonymous and incentive-compatible rules. We also compare rules from an interim-viewpoint.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmitz, Patrick W. & Tröger, Thomas, 2012. "The (sub-)optimality of the majority rule," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 651-665.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:74:y:2012:i:2:p:651-665
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.08.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Majority rule; Mechanism design; Correlated values; Utilitarianism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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