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Garbled Elections

  • Schmitz, Patrick W
  • Tröger, Thomas

Majority rules are frequently used to decide whether or not a public good should be provided, but will typically fail to achieve an efficient provision. We provide a worst-case analysis of the majority rule with an optimally chosen majority threshold, assuming that voters have independent private valuations and are ex-ante symmetric (provision cost shares are included in the valuations). We show that if the population is large it can happen that the optimal majority rule is essentially no better than a random provision of the public good. But the optimal majority rule is worst-case asymptotically efficient in the large-population limit if (i) the voters' expected valuation is bounded away from 0, and (ii) an absolute bound for valuations is known.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5958.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5958
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  1. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
  2. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2006. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 317-339, April.
  3. Mark Fey & Jaehoon Kim, 2002. "The Swing Voter's Curse: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1264-1268, September.
  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. Peyton Young, 1995. "Optimal Voting Rules," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 51-64, Winter.
  6. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  7. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
  8. Rustichini, Aldo & Satterthwaite, Mark A & Williams, Steven R, 1994. "Convergence to Efficiency in a Simple Market with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1041-63, September.
  9. 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.
  10. Mark A. Satterthwaite & Steven R. Williams, 2002. "The Optimality of a Simple Market Mechanism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1841-1863, September.
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