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One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation

  • Bouton, Laurent
  • Castanheira, Micael

This paper compares the properties of three electoral systems when voters have imperfect information. Imperfect information blurs voter decisions and may divorce the electoral outcome from the true preferences of the electorate. The challenge for electoral design is therefore to translate the (sometimes contradictory) elements of information dispersed in the electorate into the most efficient aggregate outcome. We propose a novel model of multi-candidate elections in Poisson games, and show that Approval Voting produces a unique equilibrium that is fully efficient: the candidate who wins the election is the one preferred by a majority of the electorate under full information. By contrast, traditional systems such as Plurality and Runoff elections cannot cope satisfactorily with information imperfections.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 6695.

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Date of creation: Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6695
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  1. Roger B. Myerson, 1994. "Population Uncertainty and Poisson Games," Discussion Papers 1102, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Why vote for losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  3. Myerson, Roger B., 2002. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 219-251, March.
  4. Francesco Sinopoli & Bhaskar Dutta & Jean-François Laslier, 2006. "Approval voting: three examples," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 27-38, December.
  5. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-24, June.
  6. Myerson, Roger B., 1998. "Extended Poisson Games and the Condorcet Jury Theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 111-131, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Steven Brams & Peter Fishburn, 2005. "Going from theory to practice: the mixed success of approval voting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 25(2), pages 457-474, December.
  9. Roger B. Myerson & Robert J. Weber, 1988. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria," Discussion Papers 782, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  10. Matias Nuñez, 2010. "Condorcet Consistency of Approval Voting: a Counter Example in Large Poisson Games," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 22(1), pages 64-84, January.
  11. GOERTZ, Johanna M. & MANIQUET, François, 2009. "On the informational efficiency of simple scoring rules," CORE Discussion Papers 2009026, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Jean-François Laslier, 2006. "Strategic approval voting in a large electorate," Working Papers halshs-00121751, HAL.
  13. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  14. Laurent Bouton, 2012. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2012-001, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  15. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
  16. Cesar Martinelli, 2000. "Simple Plurality versus Plurality Runoff with Privately Informed Voters," Working Papers 0004, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  17. Torun Dewan & David P. Myatt, 2006. "Leading the Party:Coordination, Direction, and Communication," STICERD - Political Economy and Public Policy Paper Series 22, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  18. Robert J. Weber, 1995. "Approval Voting," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 39-49, Winter.
  19. David P. Myatt, 2007. "On the Theory of Strategic Voting -super-1," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 255-281.
  20. repec:pit:wpaper:325 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2010. "Cost Benefit Analyses versus Referenda," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 156-187, 02.
  22. Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2009. "The Condorcet-Duverger Trade-Off: swing voters and voting equilibria," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/159859, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  23. Thomas Piketty, 2000. "Voting as Communicating," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 67(1), pages 169-191.
  24. Fox, Gerald & Phillips, Earl N., 2003. "Interrelationship between presidential approval, presidential votes and macroeconomic performance, 1948-2000," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 411-424, September.
  25. Kim, Jaehoon & Fey, Mark, 2007. "The swing voter's curse with adversarial preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 236-252, July.
  26. repec:esx:essedp:732 is not listed on IDEAS
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