Passion Over Reason? Mixed Motives and the Optimal Size of Voting Bodies

49 Pages Posted: 1 Jan 2011 Last revised: 22 Jan 2012

See all articles by John Morgan

John Morgan

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group

Felix Várdy

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Date Written: July 1, 2011

Abstract

We study a Condorcet jury model where voters are driven both by passion (expressive motives) and by reason (instrumental motives). We show that arbitrarily small amounts of passion significantly affect equilibrium behavior and the optimal size of voting bodies. Increasing the size of voting bodies always reduces accuracy over some region. Unless conflict between passion and reason is very low, information does not aggregate in the limit. In that case, large voting bodies are no better than a coin flip at selecting the correct outcome. Thus, even when adding informed voters is costless, smaller voting bodies often produce better outcomes.

Keywords: Constitution Design, Information Aggregation, Expressive Voting

JEL Classification: C72, D72

Suggested Citation

Morgan, John and Várdy, Felix, Passion Over Reason? Mixed Motives and the Optimal Size of Voting Bodies (July 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1733208 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1733208

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/

Felix Várdy (Contact Author)

International Monetary Fund (IMF) ( email )

700 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20431
United States

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