On the Benefits of Costly Voting

36 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2008

See all articles by Vijay Krishna

Vijay Krishna

Penn State University

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group

Date Written: May 24, 2008


We study strategic voting in a Condorcet type model in which voters have identical preferences but differential information. Voters incur private costs of going to the polls and may abstain if they wish; hence voting is voluntary. We show that under majority rule with voluntary voting, it is an equilibrium to vote sincerely. Thus, in contrast to situations with compulsory voting, there is no conflict between strategic and sincere behavior. In large elections, the equilibrium is shown to be unique. Furthermore, participation rates are such that, in the limit, the correct candidate is elected with probability one. Finally, we show that in large elections, voluntary voting is welfare superior to compulsory voting.

Keywords: Voting, Majority Rule, Poisson Games

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Krishna, Vijay and Morgan, John, On the Benefits of Costly Voting (May 24, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1143564 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1143564

Vijay Krishna (Contact Author)

Penn State University ( email )

Kern 516
University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States
814-863-8543 (Phone)
814-863-4775 (Fax)

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-2669 (Phone)
810-885-5959 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/rjmorgan/

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