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Ignorance and Naivete in Large Elections

  • Cesar Martinelli


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

We consider a two-alternative election with voluntary participation and nearly common interests in which voters may acquire information about which alternative is best. Voters may be rational or naive in the sense of being able, or not, to update their beliefs about the state of the world conditioning on the behavior of others. We show that there is full information equivalence if all voters are rational and there is arbitrarily cheap information. Electoral participation converges to zero if and only if information is costly for all voters. Per contra, if some voters are naive, participation remains bounded way from zero, and full information equivalence requires that information is free for some voters. Increasing the number of naive voters is bad for information aggregation if naive voters are few, but may be good if there are already many.

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Paper provided by Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM in its series Working Papers with number 1107.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:1107
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  1. Myerson, Roger B., 2002. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 219-251, March.
  2. Ignacio Esponda, 2008. "Behavioral Equilibrium in Economies with Adverse Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1269-91, September.
  3. Dino Gerardi & Leeat Yariv, 2007. "Information Acquisition in Committees," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1411R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Jehiel, Philippe & Koessler, Frédéric, 2008. "Revisiting games of incomplete information with analogy-based expectations," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 533-557, March.
  5. Battaglini, Marco & Morton, Rebecca & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006. "The Swing Voter’s Curse in the laboratory," Working Papers 1263, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  6. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191, 01.
  7. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
  8. César Martinelli, 2007. "Rational ignorance and voting behavior," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 315-335, February.
  9. Martinelli, Cesar, 2006. "Would rational voters acquire costly information?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 225-251, July.
  10. Roger B. Myerson, 1997. "Large Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1189, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Oliveros, Santiago, 2013. "Abstention, ideology and information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(3), pages 871-902.
  12. Santiago Oliveros, 2013. "Aggregation of endogenous information in large elections," Economics Discussion Papers 733, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
  13. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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