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When is Voting Optimal?

Listed author(s):
  • Ruth Ben-Yashar
  • Leif Danziger

We consider a framework where the optimal decision rule determining the collective choice depends in a simple way on the decision makers’ posterior probabilities of a particular state of nature. Nevertheless, voting is generally an inefficient way to make collective choices and this paper sheds light on the relationship between the optimal decision rule and voting mechanisms. The paper derives the conditions under which the optimal decision rule is equivalent to some well-known voting procedure (weighted supermajority, weighted majority, and simple majority) and shows that these are very stringent. The paper also considers more general voting procedures, as for example allowing for abstentions, and shows that the conditions for reaching the optimal collective choice remain very stringent.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp5116.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 5116.

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Date of creation: 2014
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5116
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  1. S. Nageeb Ali & Jacob K. Goeree & Navin Kartik & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2008. "Information Aggregation in Standing and Ad Hoc Committees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 181-186, May.
  2. Franz Dietrich, 2010. "Bayesian group belief," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(4), pages 595-626, October.
  3. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2006. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 317-339, April.
  4. Ladha, Krishna K., 1995. "Information pooling through majority-rule voting: Condorcet's jury theorem with correlated votes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 353-372, May.
  5. Bauke Visser & Otto H. Swank, 2007. "On Committees of Experts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 337-372.
  6. Ben-Yashar, Ruth & Danziger, Leif, 2011. "Symmetric and asymmetric committees," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 440-447.
  7. Dietrich, Franz, 2010. "The possibility of judgment aggregation on agendas with subjunctive implications," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 603-638, March.
  8. Lloyd Shapley & Bernard Grofman, 1984. "Optimizing group judgmental accuracy in the presence of interdependencies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 329-343, January.
  9. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
  10. Dietrich, Franz & List, Christian, 2010. "Majority voting on restricted domains," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(2), pages 512-543, March.
  11. Mark Fey, 2003. "A note on the Condorcet Jury Theorem with supermajority voting rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 20(1), pages 27-32.
  12. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
  13. Nitzan, Shmuel & Paroush, Jacob, 1982. "Optimal Decision Rules in Uncertain Dichotomous Choice Situations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 23(2), pages 289-297, June.
  14. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:01:p:34-45_20 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Barrett, C R & Pattanaik, Prasanta K, 1987. "Aggregation of Probability Judgements," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 1237-1241, September.
  16. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Igal Milchtaich, 2007. "First and second best voting rules in committees," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 29(3), pages 453-486, October.
  17. Eyal Baharad & Shmuel Nitzan, 2007. "The Costs of Implementing the Majority Principle: The Golden Voting Rule," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 31(1), pages 69-84, April.
  18. Robert F. Bordley, 1982. "A Multiplicative Formula for Aggregating Probability Assessments," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 28(10), pages 1137-1148, October.
  19. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Sarit Kraus, 2002. "Optimal collective dichotomous choice under quota constraints," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 19(4), pages 839-852.
  20. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.
  21. Eyal Baharad & Shmuel Nitzan, 2007. "Scoring rules: an alternative parameterization," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 30(1), pages 187-190, January.
  22. Daniel Berend & Luba Sapir, 2007. "Monotonicity in Condorcet’s Jury Theorem with dependent voters," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(3), pages 507-528, April.
  23. Peyton Young, 1995. "Optimal Voting Rules," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 51-64, Winter.
  24. Bård Harstad, 2005. "Majority Rules and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1535-1568.
  25. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
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