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Let Them Burn Money: Making Elections More Informative

  • Colin Campbell

    ()

    (Rutgers University)

A standard election in which each voter chooses a single alternative permits voters little scope to express the intensity of their preferences. Allowing more complex statements of preferences may not alleviate the problem if voters behave strategically, as only certain statements are credible. I consider the implications of allowing voters to burn money as part of the voting procedure. In an environment with two alternatives and voters with interdependent values, I find necessary and sufficient conditions for all choice functions that are minimally responsive to voter preferences to be implementable with money burning. Furthermore, I show that any choice rule that treats ex-ante identical voters symmetrically can be implemented with an arbitrarily small amount of money burnt per voter as the set of voters is replicated. Thus, for a large electorate, the informational gains of money burning can be reaped at virtually no social cost.

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Paper provided by Rutgers University, Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 200512.

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Date of creation: 15 Nov 2005
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Handle: RePEc:rut:rutres:200512
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  1. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  2. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable votes," Discussion Papers 0102-71, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  3. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alessandra Casella & Andrew Gelman, 2005. "A simple scheme to improve the efficiency of referenda," Discussion Papers 0506-04, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  5. RICHARD McLEAN & ANDREW POSTLEWAITE, 2004. "Informational Size and Efficient Auctions," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71, pages 809-827, 07.
  6. Richard McLean & Andrew Postlewaite, . "Informational Size and Incentive Compatibility," Penn CARESS Working Papers 7f6ff09d59945e06909ce4fa4, Penn Economics Department.
  7. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1994. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections with Private Information," Discussion Papers 1117, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  8. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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