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The expressive power of voting rules: theory and experimental evidence

The expressive power of voting rules: theory and experimental evidence
The expressive power of voting rules: theory and experimental evidence
A promising way to assess voting rules, for which little is known, is to compare the expressive utility that voters derive from voting with each rule. In this paper, we first propose an ordinal theory of expressive voting that allows us to compare voting rules in terms of the expressive utility that voters derive from voting (their expressive power). Our theory provides a novel testable implication according to which expected turnout increases with expressive power. We then ran an online experiment testing this implication in a controlled environment. We find that if voters are made aware of alternative voting rules, turnout is higher in voting rules with higher expressive power. Our results also show that higher expressive power is associated with better representation of voters’ actual preferences. This suggests that the expressive power of voting rules is a relevant criterion when choosing between voting rules for economic and political decisions.
Expressive voting, Voting rules, Turnout behaviour, Online experiment
Social Science Research Network
Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha
ad0db321-0782-4601-939c-4df1ab47f527
Ferreira, João V.
0aad606a-eab0-473c-a230-9b3dfa2d7d93
Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha
ad0db321-0782-4601-939c-4df1ab47f527
Ferreira, João V.
0aad606a-eab0-473c-a230-9b3dfa2d7d93

Bourgeois-Gironde, Sacha and Ferreira, João V. (2022) The expressive power of voting rules: theory and experimental evidence Social Science Research Network 38pp. (doi:10.2139/ssrn.4046443).

Record type: Monograph (Working Paper)

Abstract

A promising way to assess voting rules, for which little is known, is to compare the expressive utility that voters derive from voting with each rule. In this paper, we first propose an ordinal theory of expressive voting that allows us to compare voting rules in terms of the expressive utility that voters derive from voting (their expressive power). Our theory provides a novel testable implication according to which expected turnout increases with expressive power. We then ran an online experiment testing this implication in a controlled environment. We find that if voters are made aware of alternative voting rules, turnout is higher in voting rules with higher expressive power. Our results also show that higher expressive power is associated with better representation of voters’ actual preferences. This suggests that the expressive power of voting rules is a relevant criterion when choosing between voting rules for economic and political decisions.

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More information

Published date: 16 March 2022
Keywords: Expressive voting, Voting rules, Turnout behaviour, Online experiment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 467995
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/467995
PURE UUID: b59c0bb3-a730-4f98-85e7-c883c20fd1f4
ORCID for João V. Ferreira: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6393-8667

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 27 Jul 2022 16:59
Last modified: 28 Jul 2022 02:00

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Contributors

Author: Sacha Bourgeois-Gironde

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