Voluntary voting: Costs and benefits
We compare voluntary and compulsory voting in a Condorcet-type model in which voters have identical preferences but differential information. With voluntary voting, all equilibria involve sincere voting and positive participation. Thus, in contrast to situations with compulsory voting, there is no conflict between strategic and sincere behavior. When voting is costless, voluntary voting is welfare superior to compulsory voting. Even when voting is costly, participation rates are such that, in the limit, the correct candidate is elected—that is, information fully aggregates. Because it economizes on costs, voluntary voting is again welfare superior to compulsory voting.
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