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A Classroom Exercise: Voting by Ballots and Feet

Author

Listed:
  • Roger Hewett

    () (Department of Economics and Finance, Drake University)

  • Charles A. Holt

    () (Department of Economics, University of Virginia)

  • Georgia Kosmopoulou

    () (Department of Economics, University of Oklahoma)

  • Christine Kymn

    () (Law School, George Mason University)

  • Cheryl X. Long

    () (Department of Economics, Colgate University)

  • Shabnam Mousavi

    () (Department of Economics, Virginia Tech)

  • Sudipta Sarangi

    () (Department of Economics, Louisiana State University)

Abstract

This classroom experiment illustrates the efficiency-enhancing property of a Tiebout system in which local public goods decisions are determined by a political process. Students are given playing cards that induce diverse preferences for expenditures on alternative public goods and are initially assigned to specific communities. Then those in each community vote on the type and level of public goods provision, which determine the tax cost. After the provision and tax results are announced, students are free to move to a location where the prior results are more consistent with their preferences. This process continues for several rounds, with a new vote taken at each location after moves have been made. The exercise demonstrates that the combination of voting with feet and ballots tends to increase the total net benefit for all communities. The voting on provision levels is structured to facilitate a discussion of the median voter theorem.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Hewett & Charles A. Holt & Georgia Kosmopoulou & Christine Kymn & Cheryl X. Long & Shabnam Mousavi & Sudipta Sarangi, 2005. "A Classroom Exercise: Voting by Ballots and Feet," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 253-263, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:72:1:y:2005:p:253-263
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Balke, Nathan S. & Emery, Kenneth M., 1994. "The algebra of price stability," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, pages 77-97.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christoph Engel & Bettina Rockenbach, 2014. "Give Everybody a Voice! The Power of Voting in a Public Goods Experiment with Externalities," Discussion Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2014_16, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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