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One Person, Many Votes: Divided Majority and Information Aggregation

  • Laurent Bouton
  • Micael Castanheira De Moura

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.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series ULB Institutional Repository with number 2013/108675.

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Date of creation: 10 Jan 2012
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Publication status: Published in: Econometrica (2012) v.80 n° 1,p.43-87
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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  1. GOERTZ, Johanna M.M. & MANIQUET, François, . "On the informational efficiency of simple scoring rules," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2326, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  21. Steven Brams & Peter Fishburn, 2005. "Going from theory to practice: the mixed success of approval voting," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 25(2), pages 457-474, December.
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