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Voluntary voting: Costs and benefits

  • Krishna, Vijay
  • Morgan, John

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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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022053112000993
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 147 (2012)
Issue (Month): 6 ()
Pages: 2083-2123

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:6:p:2083-2123
DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2012.09.006
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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  1. Sayantan Ghosal & Ben Lockwood, 2009. "Costly voting when both information and preferences differ: is turnout too high or too low?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 33(1), pages 25-50, June.
  2. César Martinelli, 2004. "Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000593, UCLA Department of Economics.
  3. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
  4. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  5. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2011. "Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 183 - 211.
  7. Myerson, Roger B., 1998. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 111-131, October.
  8. John Ledyard, 1983. "The Pure Theory of Large Two Candidate Elections," Discussion Papers 569, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  9. Szentes, Balazs & Koriyama, Yukio, 2009. "A resurrection of the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 4(2), June.
  10. 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.
  11. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  12. Roos, Bero, 1999. "On the Rate of Multivariate Poisson Convergence," Journal of Multivariate Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 120-134, April.
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  14. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
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