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Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments

  • Alessandra Casella

    ()

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579, Economics Department, Columbia University - Columbia University)

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 HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00349292.

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Date of creation: 28 Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00349292
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  1. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable votes," Discussion Papers 0102-71, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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..
  4. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  5. Farrell, Joseph, 1995. "Talk Is Cheap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 186-90, May.
  6. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew & Palfrey, Thomas R, 2003. "An Experimental Study of Storable Votes," CEPR Discussion Papers 4081, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2012. "Qualitative voting," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 24(4), pages 526-554, October.
  8. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A simple scheme to improve the efficiency of referenda," Discussion Papers 0506-04, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  12. Farrell, Joseph & Gibbons, Robert, 1989. "Cheap talk can matter in bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 221-237, June.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
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