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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. Cesar Martinelli, 2000. "Simple Plurality versus Plurality Runoff with Privately Informed Voters," Working Papers 0004, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  2. Myerson, Roger B., 2000. "Large Poisson Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 7-45, September.
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  7. Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2003. "Why vote for losers?," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/10005, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  10. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1996. "Convicting the Innocent: The Inferiority of Unanimous Jury Verdicts," Discussion Papers 1170, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  11. Matias Nuñez, 2010. "Condorcet Consistency of Approval Voting: a Counter Example in Large Poisson Games," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 22(1), pages 64-84, January.
  12. Kim, Jaehoon & Fey, Mark, 2007. "The swing voter's curse with adversarial preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 135(1), pages 236-252, July.
  13. 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).
  14. Jean-François Laslier, 2004. "Strategic Approval Voting in a large electorate," Working Papers hal-00242909, HAL.
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  18. Sourav Bhattacharya, 2006. "Preference Monotonicity and Information Aggregation in Elections," Working Papers 325, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2008.
  19. Laurent Bouton & Micael Castanheira De Moura, 2009. "The Condorcet-Duverger Trade-Off: swing voters and voting equilibria," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/159859, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  20. Timothy Feddersen & Wolfgang Pesendorfer, 1997. "Voting Behavior and Information Aggregation in Elections With Private Information," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1560, David K. Levine.
  21. Francesco Sinopoli & Bhaskar Dutta & Jean-François Laslier, 2006. "Approval voting: three examples," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 27-38, December.
  22. Laurent Bouton, 2013. "A Theory of Strategic Voting in Runoff Elections," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/160854, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  24. Martin J. Osborne & Matthew A. Turner, 2010. "Cost Benefit Analyses versus Referenda," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 156-187, 02.
  25. David S. Ahny & Santiago Oliveros, 2013. "Approval Voting and Scoring Rules with Common Values," Economics Discussion Papers 732, University of Essex, Department of Economics.
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