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A simple scheme to improve the efficiency of referenda

  • Casella, Alessandra
  • Gelman, Andrew

Referenda are becoming a common tool for public decision-making, and as reliance on direct democracy increases, so does the importance of giving representation to strongly held minority preferences. This paper discusses a very simple scheme that treats everybody symmetrically but gives weight to intense preferences: voters faced with a number of binary proposals are given one regular vote for each proposal plus a single additional bonus vote to cast as desired. Decisions are then taken according to the majority of votes cast. We study the scheme in a number of different models and identify empirically plausible conditions under which ex ante utility increases, relative to simple majority voting.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4SJG662-1/2/bb96ce1df2f758301b76695b3d322e78
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 10-11 (October)
Pages: 2240-2261

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:10-11:p:2240-2261
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
  2. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
  3. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," CEPR Discussion Papers 5093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "An experimental study of storable votes," Discussion Papers 0304-01, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  5. Howard Margolis, 1977. "Probability of a tie election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 135-138, September.
  6. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Minorities and Storable Votes," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 15, pages 247-282 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  7. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable Votes," NBER Working Papers 9189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Taylor, Curtis & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Public Information and Electoral Bias," Working Papers 05-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  10. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  11. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  12. John Ledyard & Thomas Palfrey, 2003. "The Approximation of Efficient Public Good Mechanisms by Simple Voting Schemes," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000103, David K. Levine.
  13. Brams, Steven J. & Kilgour, D. Marc & Zwicker, William S., 1996. "The Paradox of Multiple Elections," Working Papers 96-09, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  14. Matthew O Jackson & Hugo F Sonnenschein, 2007. "Overcoming Incentive Constraints by Linking Decisions -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 241-257, 01.
  15. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
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