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Storable Votes and Agenda Order Control. Theory and Experiments

  • Alessandra Casella

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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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w14487.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14487.

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Date of creation: Nov 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14487
Note: PE POL
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  1. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  2. Rafael Hortala-Vallve, 2007. "Qualitative Voting," Economics Series Working Papers 320, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. 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.
  4. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2003. "An Experimental Study of Storable Votes," NBER Working Papers 9982, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Joseph Farrell and Robert Gibbons., 1988. "Cheap Talk Can Matter in Bargaining," Economics Working Papers 8863, University of California at Berkeley.
  6. Casella, Alessandra & Gelman, Andrew, 2008. "A simple scheme to improve the efficiency of referenda," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2240-2261, October.
  7. 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.
  8. Alessandra Casella & Thomas Palfrey & Raymond Riezman, 2005. "Minorities and Storable Votes," CESifo Working Paper Series 1583, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Bhaskar Dutta & Matthew O. Jackson & Michel Le Breton, 2004. "Equilibrium agenda formation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 21-57, 08.
  10. Crawford, Vincent, 1998. "A Survey of Experiments on Communication via Cheap Talk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 286-298, February.
  11. Casella, Alessandra, 2005. "Storable votes," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 391-419, May.
  12. Farrell, Joseph, 1995. "Talk Is Cheap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 186-90, May.
  13. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2007. "Deliberative voting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 134(1), pages 317-338, May.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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