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The Dark Side of the Vote - Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting

Author

Listed:
  • Rebecca B. Morton

    (Department of Politics, NYU)

  • Marco Piovesan

    (Harvard University)

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    (Department of Economics, University of Vienna, and Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)

Abstract

We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when some voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a "?dark side"?, i.e. result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. We develop a model to predict how two types of social information shape efficiency in the presence of biased voters and we test these predictions using a novel experimental design. In line with predictions, we find that information on the popularity of policy choices is beneficial when a minority of voters is biased, but harmful when a majority is biased. In theory, information on the success of policy choices elsewhere de-biases voters and alleviates the inefficiency. In the experiment, providing social information on success is ineffective. While voters with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to be de-biased by such information, most voters do not seem to interpret such information rationally.

Suggested Citation

  • Rebecca B. Morton & Marco Piovesan & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2012. "The Dark Side of the Vote - Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting," Discussion Papers 12-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kud:kuiedp:1208
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Bernado Moreno & María del Pino Ramos-Sosa & Ismael Rodríguez-Lara, 2016. "Conformity, information and truthful voting," Working Papers 2016-01, Universidad de Málaga, Department of Economic Theory, Málaga Economic Theory Research Center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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