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Abstention in Elections with Asymmetric Information and Diverse Preferences

  • Timothy J. Fedderson
  • Wolfgang Pesendorfer

We analyze a model of a two-candidate election in which voters have asymmetric information and diverse preferences. Voters may costlessly choose to either vote for one of the candidates or abstain. We demonstrate that a strictly positive fraction of the electorate will abstain and, nevertheless, elections effectively aggregate voter's private information. The model also provides an explanation for observed patterns of participation and partisanship.

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File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1195.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 1195.

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Date of creation: Oct 1996
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1195
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  1. Klevorick, Alvin K. & Rothschild, Michael & Winship, Christopher, 1984. "Information processing and jury decisionmaking," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 245-278, April.
  2. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1029-1058, September.
  3. 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.
  4. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
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