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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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  1. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," NBER Working Papers 11375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Howard Margolis, 1977. "Probability of a tie election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 135-138, September.
  3. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  4. Matthew O Jackson & Hugo F Sonnenschein, 2007. "Overcoming Incentive Constraints by Linking Decisions -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 241-257, 01.
  5. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable votes," Discussion Papers 0102-71, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2003. "An Experimental Study of Storable Votes," Working Papers 1173, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  7. John Ledyard & Thomas Palfrey, 2003. "The Approximation of Efficient Public Good Mechanisms by Simple Voting Schemes," Levine's Working Paper Archive 506439000000000103, David K. Levine.
  8. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2005. "Minorities and storable votes," Discussion Papers 0506-02, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  9. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
  11. Steven J. Brams & William S. Zwicker & D. Marc Kilgour, 1998. "The paradox of multiple elections," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 211-236.
  12. Colin M. Campbell, 1999. "Large Electorates and Decisive Minorities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(6), pages 1199-1217, December.
  13. Alvin E. Roth, 2002. "The Economist as Engineer: Game Theory, Experimentation, and Computation as Tools for Design Economics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1341-1378, July.
  14. Taylor, Curtis & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Public Information and Electoral Bias," Working Papers 05-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  15. Chamberlain, Gary & Rothschild, Michael, 1981. "A note on the probability of casting a decisive vote," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 152-162, August.
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