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Voting as a war of attrition

Voting as a war of attrition
Voting as a war of attrition
We study communication in committees selecting one of two alternatives when consensus is required and agents have private information about their preferences. Delaying the decision is costly, so a form of multiplayer war of attrition emerges. Waiting allows voters to express the intensity of their preferences and may help to select the alternative correctly more often than simple majority. In a series of laboratory experiments, we investigate how various rules affect the outcome reached. We vary the amount of feedback and the communication protocol available to voters: complete secrecy about the pattern of support; feedback about this support; public communication; and within-group communication. The feedback no-communication mechanism is worse than no feedback benchmark in all measures of welfare—the efficient alternative is chosen less often, waiting cost is higher, and thus net welfare is lower. Our headline result is that adding communication restores net efficiency, but in different ways. Public communication does poorly in terms of selecting the correct alternative, but limits the cost of delay, while group communication improves allocative efficiency, but has at best a moderate effect on delay.
0167-2681
Kwiek, Maksymilian
84ba7dab-b54b-4d22-8cf3-817b2a2077cf
Marreiros, Helia
39fcfc57-7ace-4483-84d1-f57ffa4454fd
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7
Kwiek, Maksymilian
84ba7dab-b54b-4d22-8cf3-817b2a2077cf
Marreiros, Helia
39fcfc57-7ace-4483-84d1-f57ffa4454fd
Vlassopoulos, Michael
2d557227-958c-4855-92a8-b74b398f95c7

Kwiek, Maksymilian, Marreiros, Helia and Vlassopoulos, Michael (2019) Voting as a war of attrition. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. (doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2019.09.020).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We study communication in committees selecting one of two alternatives when consensus is required and agents have private information about their preferences. Delaying the decision is costly, so a form of multiplayer war of attrition emerges. Waiting allows voters to express the intensity of their preferences and may help to select the alternative correctly more often than simple majority. In a series of laboratory experiments, we investigate how various rules affect the outcome reached. We vary the amount of feedback and the communication protocol available to voters: complete secrecy about the pattern of support; feedback about this support; public communication; and within-group communication. The feedback no-communication mechanism is worse than no feedback benchmark in all measures of welfare—the efficient alternative is chosen less often, waiting cost is higher, and thus net welfare is lower. Our headline result is that adding communication restores net efficiency, but in different ways. Public communication does poorly in terms of selecting the correct alternative, but limits the cost of delay, while group communication improves allocative efficiency, but has at best a moderate effect on delay.

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Voting_War_of_Attrition_20190910_v.7 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 21 September 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 October 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 435669
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/435669
ISSN: 0167-2681
PURE UUID: a5aa1939-2346-44cc-a8d8-80fa5c786b8e
ORCID for Michael Vlassopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3683-1466

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Nov 2019 17:30
Last modified: 19 Nov 2019 01:44

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