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A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda

  • Casella, Alessandra
  • Gelman, Andrew

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 difference 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 only 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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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5093.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5093
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  1. 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.
  2. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," NBER Working Papers 11375, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Ledyard, John O. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2000. "The Approximation of Efficient Public Good Mechanisms by Simple Voting Schemes," Working Papers 1092, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. 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.
  6. Taylor, Curtis & Yildirim, Huseyin, 2005. "Public Information and Electoral Bias," Working Papers 05-11, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  7. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "An Experimental Study of Storable Votes," NBER Working Papers 9982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2006. "Minorities and Storable Votes," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000199, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Matsusaka, John G, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-71, May.
  10. 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.
  11. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable Votes," NBER Working Papers 9189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. John Ledyard, 1984. "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 7-41, January.
  14. Howard Margolis, 1977. "Probability of a tie election," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 135-138, September.
  15. 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.
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