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A simple scheme to improve the efficiency of referenda

  • Alessandra Casella

    ()

    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

  • Andrew Gelman

    ()

    (Columbia University - Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science)

This paper proposes a simple scheme designed to elicit and reward intensity of preferences in referenda: voters faced with a number of binary proposals are given one regular vote for each proposal plus an additional number of bonus votes to cast as desired. Decisions are taken according to the majority of votes cast. In our base case, where there is no systematic di¤erence between proposals' supporters and opponents, there is always a positive number of bonus votes such that ex ante utility is increased by the scheme, relative to simple majority voting. When the distributions of valuations of supporters and opponents differ, the improvement in efficiency is guaranteed if the distributions can be ranked according to first order stochastic dominance. If they are, however, the existence of welfare gains is independent of the exact number of bonus votes.

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File URL: http://www.econ.columbia.edu/RePEc/pdf/DP0506-04.pdf
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Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0506-04.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0506-04
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