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An optimal voting procedure when voting is costly

Author

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  • Bognar, Katalin
  • Börgers, Tilman
  • Meyer-ter-Vehn, Moritz

Abstract

We study optimal dynamic voting procedures when voting is costly. For a highly stylized specification of our model with private values, two alternatives, and binary, equally likely types we show the optimality of a voting procedure that combines two main elements: (i) there is an arbitrarily chosen default decision and abstention is interpreted as a vote in favor of the default; (ii) voting is sequential and is terminated when a supermajority requirement, which declines over time, is met. We show the optimality of such a voting procedure by arguing that it is first best, that is, it maximizes welfare when equilibrium constraints are ignored, and by showing that individual incentives and social welfare are sufficiently aligned to make a first best procedure incentive compatible. We also provide counterexamples where no first best procedure is incentive compatible when voters' binary types are not equally likely.

Suggested Citation

  • Bognar, Katalin & Börgers, Tilman & Meyer-ter-Vehn, Moritz, 2015. "An optimal voting procedure when voting is costly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PB), pages 1056-1073.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:159:y:2015:i:pb:p:1056-1073
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2014.11.008
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gershkov, Alex & Szentes, Balázs, 2009. "Optimal voting schemes with costly information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 36-68, January.
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    5. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2005. "Information in Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1532R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jan 2006.
    6. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yaron Azrieli, 2018. "The price of ‘one person, one vote’," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 50(2), pages 353-385, February.
    2. Bergemann, Dirk & Pavan, Alessandro, 2015. "Introduction to Symposium on Dynamic Contracts and Mechanism Design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 159(PB), pages 679-701.
    3. Chakravarty, Surajeet & Kaplan, Todd R. & Myles, Gareth, 2018. "When costly voting is beneficial," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 33-42.
    4. Gersbach, Hans & Mamageishvili, Akaki & Tejada, Oriol, 2019. "The Effect of Handicaps on Turnout for Large Electorates: An Application to Assessment Voting," CEPR Discussion Papers 13921, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Hans Peter Grüner & Thomas Tröger, 2018. "Linear voting rules," CRC TR 224 Discussion Paper Series crctr224_2018_002, University of Bonn and University of Mannheim, Germany.
    6. Dirk Bergemann & Alessandro Pavan, 2015. "Introduction to JET Symposium Issue on "Dynamic Contracts and Mechanism Design"," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2016, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Dynamic mechanism design; Costly voting; Participation costs;

    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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