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One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation

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  • Laurent Bouton
  • Micael Castanheira De Moura

Abstract

This paper shows that information imperfections and common values can solve coordination problems in multicandidate elections. We analyze an election in which (i) the majority is divided between two alternatives and (ii) the minority backs a third alternative, which the majority views as strictly inferior. Standard analyses assume voters have a fixed preference ordering over candidates. Coordination problems cannot be overcome in such a case, and it is possible that inferior candidates win. In our setup the majority is also divided as a result of information imperfections. The majority thus faces two problems: aggregating information and coordinating to defeat the minority candidate. We show that when the common value component is strong enough, approval voting produces full information and coordination equivalence: the equilibrium is unique and solves both problems. Thus, the need for information aggregation helps resolve the majority's coordination problem under approval voting. This is not the case under standard electoral systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2012. "One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/108675, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulb:ulbeco:2013/108675
    Note: This is a translation of: One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • 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
    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty

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