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Inefficient committees: small elections with three alternatives

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  • J. Goertz

Abstract

We consider small committees which have to elect one of three alternatives using the simple plurality rule. Committee members have common, state-dependent preferences and receive imprecise private signals about the state of nature prior to the election. We are interested in whether the committee decision is efficient, that is whether the probability with which the committee elects the correct alternative is higher than the probability with which one single individual alone—on behalf of the others—would. It has been shown that there exists a unique efficient equilibrium in elections with two alternatives. We show that this result does not extend to elections with more alternatives. Multiple equilibria may exist for the same committee, and there may be both efficient and inefficient ones. Informative voting may or may not be an equilibrium. Also contrary to two-alternative elections, there exist responsive equilibria in which voters vote ‘against’ their signal. As a consequence, only two alternatives receive positive expected vote shares and the outcome is inefficient. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • J. Goertz, 2014. "Inefficient committees: small elections with three alternatives," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(2), pages 357-375, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:43:y:2014:i:2:p:357-375
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-013-0784-5
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