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Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments

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  • Casella, Alessandra

Abstract

The paper studies a voting scheme where members of a committee voting sequentially on a known series of binary proposals are each granted a single extra bonus vote to cast as desired - a streamlined version of Storable Votes. When the order of the agenda is exogenous, a simple sufficient condition guarantees the existence of welfare gains, relative to simple majority voting. But if one of the voters controls the order of the agenda, does the scheme become less efficient? The endogeneity of the agenda gives rise to a cheap talk game, where the chair can use the order of proposals to transmit information about his priorities. The game has multiple equilibria, differing systematically in the precision of the information transmitted. The chair can indeed benefit, but the aggregate welfare effects are of ambiguous sign and very small in all parameterizations studied. The theoretical conclusions are tested through laboratory experiments. Subjects have difficulty identifying the informative strategies, and tend to cast the bonus vote on their highest intensity proposal. As a result, realized payoffs are effectively identical to what they would be if the agenda were exogenous. The bonus vote matters; the chair's control of the agenda does not.

Suggested Citation

  • Casella, Alessandra, 2008. "Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments," CEPR Discussion Papers 7050, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7050
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2006. "An experimental study of storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 123-154, October.
    2. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2013. "Minorities and Storable Votes," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 15, pages 247-282 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    3. Bhaskar Dutta & Matthew O. Jackson & Michel Le Breton, 2004. "Equilibrium agenda formation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 23(1), pages 21-57, August.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:92:y:1998:i:01:p:127-144_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew, 2008. "A simple scheme to improve the efficiency of referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2240-2261.
    6. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2012. "Qualitative voting," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 24(4), pages 526-554, October.
    7. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
    8. repec:cup:apsrev:v:100:y:2006:i:02:p:209-217_06 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:02:p:375-393_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Casella, Alessandra, 2005. "Storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-419, May.
    11. Joseph Farrell & Garth Saloner, 1988. "Coordination through Committees and Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, pages 235-252.
    12. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1991. "Testing for effects of cheap talk in a public goods game with private information," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 183-220, May.
    13. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1989. "Cheap talk can matter in bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 221-237, June.
    14. Farrell, Joseph, 1995. "Talk Is Cheap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 186-190.
    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, January.
    16. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    17. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
    18. Sopher, B. & Zapater, I., 1993. "Communication and Coordination in Signalling Games: An Experimental Study," Working Papers 93-26, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
    19. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Casella, Alessandra, 2011. "Agenda control as a cheap talk game: Theory and experiments with Storable Votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 46-76, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    agenda power; cheap talk; committees; storable votes; voting;

    JEL classification:

    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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