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Democracy for Polarized Committees: The Tale of Blotto's Lieutenants

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Abstract

In a polarized committee, majority voting disenfranchises the minority. By allowing voters to spend freely a fixed budget of votes over multiple issues, Storable Votes restores some minority power. We study a model of Storable Votes that highlights the hide-and-seek nature of the strategic game. With communication, the game replicates a classic Colonel Blotto game with asymmetric forces. We call the game without communication a decentralized Blotto game. We characterize theoretical results for this case and test both versions of the game in the laboratory. We find that, despite subjects deviating from equilibrium strategies, the minority wins as frequently as theory predicts. Because subjects understand the logic of the game – minority voters must concentrate votes unpredictably – the exact choices are of secondary importance. The result is an endorsement of the robustness of the voting rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessandra Casella & Jean-François Laslier & Antonin Macé, 2016. "Democracy for Polarized Committees: The Tale of Blotto's Lieutenants," AMSE Working Papers 1612, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 11 Mar 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1612
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    Keywords

    Storable Votes; Polarization; Colonel Blotto; Tyranny of the Majority; Committees;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • 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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