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An optimal Voting System when Voting is costly

  • Bognar, Katalin
  • Börgers, Tilman
  • Meyer-ter-Vehn, Moritz

We consider the design of an optimal voting system when voting is costly. For a private values model with two alternatives we show the optimality of a voting system that combines three elements: (i) there is an arbitrarily chosen default decision and non-participation is interpreted as a vote in favor of the default; (ii) voting is sequential; (iii) not all voters are invited to participate in the vote. We show the optimality of such a voting system by first arguing that it is first best, that is, it maximizes welfare when incentive compatibility constraints are ignored, and then showing that individual incentives and social welfare are sufficiently aligned to make the first best system incentive compatible. The analysis in this paper involves some methods that are new to the theory of mechanism design, and it is also a purpose of this paper to explore these new methods.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/29123/1/MPRA_paper_29123.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29123.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29123
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  1. Tilman Börgers, 2001. "Costly Voting," Levine's Working Paper Archive 625018000000000232, David K. Levine.
  2. Krasa, Stefan & Polborn, Mattias K., 2009. "Is mandatory voting better than voluntary voting?," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-291, May.
  3. Celik Gorkem & Yilankaya Okan, 2009. "Optimal Auctions with Simultaneous and Costly Participation," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-33, July.
  4. Martin J Osborne & Ariel Rubinstein, 2009. "A Course in Game Theory," Levine's Bibliography 814577000000000225, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1007-1033, May.
  6. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2005. "Information in Mechanism Design," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1532R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University, revised Jan 2006.
  7. Gershkov, Alex & Szentes, Balázs, 2009. "Optimal voting schemes with costly information acquisition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 36-68, January.
  8. Stegeman, Mark, 1996. "Participation Costs and Efficient Auctions," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 228-259, October.
  9. Myerson, Roger B, 1986. "Multistage Games with Communication," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(2), pages 323-58, March.
  10. Sayantan Ghosal & Ben Lockwood, 2009. "Costly voting when both information and preferences differ: is turnout too high or too low?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 33(1), pages 25-50, June.
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