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Competitive Equilibrium in Markets for Votes

  • Alessandra Casella
  • Aniol Llorente-Saguer
  • Thomas R. Palfrey

We develop a competitive equilibrium theory of a market for votes. Before voting on a binary issue, individuals may buy and sell their votes with each other. We define the concept of ex ante vote-trading equilibrium and show by construction that an equilibrium exists. The equilibrium we characterize always results in dictatorship if there is any trade, and the market for votes generates welfare losses, relative to simple majority voting, if the committee is large enough or the distribution of values is not very skewed. We test the theoretical implications in the laboratory using a continuous open-book multiunit double auction.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 120 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 593 - 658

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/667988
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