Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections
31 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 8, 2010
We study a model in which voters choose between two candidates on the basis of both ideology and competence. While the ideology of the candidates is commonly known, voters are imperfectly informed about competence. Voter preferences, however, are such that it is a dominant strategy to vote according to ideology alone. When voting is compulsory, the candidate of the majority ideology prevails and this may be inefficient from a social perspective. However, when voting is voluntary and costly, we show that turnout adjusts endogenously so that the outcome of a large election is always first-best.
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