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Garbled Elections

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  • Schmitz, Patrick W.
  • Tröger, Thomas

Abstract

Majority rules are frequently used to decide whether or not a public good should be provided, but will typically fail to achieve an efficient provision. We provide a worst-case analysis of the majority rule with an optimally chosen majority threshold, assuming that voters have independent private valuations and are exante symmetric (provision cost shares are included in the valuations). We show that if the population is large it can happen that the optimal majority rule is essentially no better than a random provision of the public good. But the optimal majority rule is worst-case asymptotically efficient in the large-population limit if (i) the voters’ expected valuation is bounded away from 0, and (ii) an absolute bound for valuations is known.

Suggested Citation

  • Schmitz, Patrick W. & Tröger, Thomas, 2006. "Garbled Elections," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 195, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:195
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2006. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 317-339, April.
    2. Mark Fey & Jaehoon Kim, 2002. "The Swing Voter's Curse: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1264-1268, September.
    3. Feddersen, Timothy J & Pesendorfer, Wolfgang, 1996. "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 408-424, June.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:01:p:34-45_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ledyard, John O. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2002. "The approximation of efficient public good mechanisms by simple voting schemes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 153-171, February.
    7. Peyton Young, 1995. "Optimal Voting Rules," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 51-64, Winter.
    8. Rustichini, Aldo & Satterthwaite, Mark A & Williams, Steven R, 1994. "Convergence to Efficiency in a Simple Market with Incomplete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(5), pages 1041-1063, September.
    9. Matthew O Jackson & Hugo F Sonnenschein, 2007. "Overcoming Incentive Constraints by Linking Decisions -super-1," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 241-257, January.
    10. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-631, July.
    11. Mark A. Satterthwaite & Steven R. Williams, 2002. "The Optimality of a Simple Market Mechanism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1841-1863, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:spr:sochwe:v:50:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1087-z is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Yaron Azrieli & Semin Kim, 2014. "Pareto Efficiency And Weighted Majority Rules," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 55, pages 1067-1088, November.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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