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Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments

  • Casella, Alessandra

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7050.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7050
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  1. Casella, Alessandra & Palfrey, Thomas R. & Riezman, Raymond, 2006. "Minorities and storable votes," Working Papers 1261, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  3. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1988. "Cheap Talk Can Matter in Bargaining," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt3qz786xq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Jackson, Matthew O. & Dutta, Bhaskar & Le Breton, Michele, 2002. "Equilibrium Agenda Formation," Working Papers 1152, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  5. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "An experimental study of storable votes," Discussion Papers 0304-01, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  6. Casella, Alessandra, 2002. "Storable Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 3508, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A Simple Scheme to Improve the Efficiency of Referenda," Economics Working Papers 0060, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  10. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2012. "Qualitative voting," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 24(4), pages 526-554, October.
  11. 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.
  12. Farrell, Joseph, 1995. "Talk Is Cheap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 186-90, May.
  13. 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.
  14. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
  15. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
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