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Voluntary voting: Costs and benefits

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  • Krishna, Vijay
  • Morgan, John

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Krishna, Vijay & Morgan, John, 2012. "Voluntary voting: Costs and benefits," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(6), pages 2083-2123.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:147:y:2012:i:6:p:2083-2123
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2012.09.006
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    Cited by:

    1. Bouton, Laurent & Castanheira, Micael & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol, 2016. "Divided majority and information aggregation: Theory and experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 114-128.
    2. Dmitriy Vorobyev, 2016. "Participation in fraudulent elections," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(4), pages 863-892, April.
    3. repec:eee:gamebe:v:104:y:2017:i:c:p:190-221 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:aea:aejmic:v:9:y:2017:i:4:p:108-40 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Bhattacharya, Sourav & Duffy, John & Kim, Sun-Tak, 2014. "Compulsory versus voluntary voting: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 111-131.
    6. Triossi, Matteo, 2013. "Costly information acquisition. Is it better to toss a coin?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 82(C), pages 169-191.
    7. Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2015. "Majority Rule and Utilitarian Welfare," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(4), pages 339-375, November.
    8. Herrera, Helios & Llorente-Saguer, Aniol & McMurray, Joseph C., 2016. "The Marginal Voter's Curse," CEPR Discussion Papers 11463, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Gratton, Gabriele, 2014. "Pandering and electoral competition," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 163-179.
    10. Marcus Pivato, 2016. "Asymptotic utilitarianism in scoring rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(2), pages 431-458, August.
    11. repec:eee:gamebe:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:38-50 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Großer, Jens & Seebauer, Michael, 2016. "The curse of uninformed voting: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 205-226.
    13. Faravelli, Marco & Man, Priscilla & Walsh, Randall, 2015. "Mandate and paternalism: A theory of large elections," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 1-23.
    14. repec:eee:pubeco:v:154:y:2017:i:c:p:34-48 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Stefan Krasa & Mattias Polborn, 2014. "Policy Divergence and Voter Polarization in a Structural Model of Elections," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(1), pages 31-76.
    16. Ginzburg, Boris, 2017. "Sincere voting in an electorate with heterogeneous preferences," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 120-123.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Costly voting; Condorcet Jury Theorem; Information aggregation;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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