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Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information

  • Timothy Feddersen
  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer

We analyze two-candidate elections in which voters are uncertain about the realization of a state variable that affects the utility of all voters. Each voter has noisy private information about the state variable. We show that the fraction of voters whose vote depends on their private information goes to zero as the size of the electorate goes to infinity. Nevertheless elections fully aggregate information in the sense that the chose candidate would not change if all private information were common knowledge among voters. We also show that the equilibrium voting behavior is to a large extent determined by the electoral rule, i.e., if a candidate is required to get at least x percent of the vote in order to win the election then in equilibrium this candidate gets very close to x percent of the vote with probability close to one.

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1117.pdf
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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1117.

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Date of creation: Oct 1994
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1117
Contact details of provider: Postal: Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science, Northwestern University, 580 Jacobs Center, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208-2014
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  1. Wolfgang Pesendorfer & Jeroen M. Swinkels, 1997. "The Loser's Curse and Information Aggregation in Common Value Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(6), pages 1247-1282, November.
  2. Paul Milgrom & Robert J. Weber, 1981. "A Theory of Auctions and Competitive Bidding," Discussion Papers 447R, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  3. Wilson, Robert, 1977. "A Bidding Model of Perfect Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 511-18, October.
  4. Timothy J. Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1995. "The Swing Voter's Curse," Discussion Papers 1064, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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