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Ignorance and Naivete in Large Elections

Author

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  • Cesar Martinelli

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

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cesar Martinelli, 2011. "Ignorance and Naivete in Large Elections," Working Papers 1107, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  • Handle: RePEc:cie:wpaper:1107
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    File URL: http://ftp.itam.mx/pub/academico/inves/martinelli/11-07.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Marco Battaglini & Rebecca B. Morton & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2010. "The Swing Voter's Curse in the Laboratory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(1), pages 61-89.
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    5. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1029-1058, September.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuele Bracco & Federico Revelli, 2017. "Concurrent Elections and Political Accountability: Evidence from Italian Local Elections," Working Papers 170337308, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. Großer, Jens & Seebauer, Michael, 2016. "The curse of uninformed voting: An experimental study," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 97(C), pages 205-226.
    3. Christian Bruns, 2013. "Elections and Market Provision of Information," CESifo Working Paper Series 4091, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Poisson Games; Rational Ignorance; Cursed Equilibrium; Condorecet Jury Theorem;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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