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Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?

  • Cesar Martinelli

    ()

    (Centro de Investigacion Economica (CIE), Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico (ITAM))

We analyze an election in which voters are uncertain about which of two alternatives is better for them. Voters can, however, acquire some costly information about the alternatives. As the number of voters increases, individual investment in political information declines to zero. However, the election outcome is likely to correspond to the interest of the majority if the marginal cost of information acquisition approaches zero as the information acquired becomes nearly irrelevant. Under certain conditions, the election outcome corresponds to the interests of the majority with probability approaching one. Thus, "rationally ignorant" voters are consistent with a well-informed electorate. JEL D72, D82. Keywords: voting, information acquisition, information aggregation.

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File URL: http://ftp.itam.mx/pub/academico/inves/martinelli/02-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2002-07
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Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 0210.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:0210
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