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Rational Ignorance and Voting Behavior

  • Cesar Martinelli

    ()

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

We model a two-alternative election in which voters may acquire information about which is the best alternative for all voters. Voters differ in their cost of acquiring information. We show that as the number of voters increases, the fraction of voters who acquire information declines to zero. However, if the support of the cost distribution is not bounded away from zero, there is an equilibrium with some information acquisition for arbitrarily large electorates. This equilibrium dominates in terms of welfare any equilibrium without information acquisition--even though generally there is too little information acquisition with respect to an optimal strategy profile.

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File URL: http://ftp.itam.mx/pub/academico/inves/martinelli/05-05.pdf
File Function: First version, 2005
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 0505.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:0505
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  1. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
  2. Helios Herrera & Cesar Martinelli, 2005. "Group Formation and Voter Participation," Working Papers 0502, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  3. Gerling, Kerstin & Gruner, Hans Peter & Kiel, Alexandra & Schulte, Elisabeth, 2005. "Information acquisition and decision making in committees: A survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 563-597, September.
  4. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
  5. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191, 01.
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