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Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections

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  • Vijay Krishna
  • John Morgan

Abstract

We study a model in which voters choose between two candidates on the basis of both ideology and competence. While the ideology of the candidates is commonly known, voters are imperfectly informed about competence. Voter preferences, however, are such that ideology alone determines voting. When voting is compulsory, the candidate of the majority ideology prevails, and this may not be optimal from a social perspective. However, when voting is voluntary and costly, we show that turnout adjusts endogenously so that the outcome of a large election is always first-best.

Suggested Citation

  • Vijay Krishna & John Morgan, 2011. "Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 119(2), pages 183-211.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/660731
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    1. Sayantan Ghosal & Ben Lockwood, 2009. "Costly voting when both information and preferences differ: is turnout too high or too low?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 33(1), pages 25-50, June.
    2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
    3. Helios Herrera & Massimo Morelli & Thomas Palfrey, 2014. "Turnout and Power Sharing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(574), pages 131-162, February.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:79:y:1985:i:01:p:62-78_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2013. "Preference Monotonicity and Information Aggregation in Elections," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(3), pages 1229-1247, May.
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