The Dark Side of the Vote - Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting
55 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2012
Date Written: August 8, 2012
We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when some voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a 'dark side', i.e. result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. We develop a model to predict how two types of social information shape efficiency in the presence of biased voters and we test these predictions using a novel experimental design. In line with predictions, we find that information on the popularity of policy choices is beneficial when a minority of voters is biased, but harmful when a majority is biased. In theory, information on the success of policy choices elsewhere de-biases voters and alleviates the inefficiency. In the experiment, providing social information on success is ineffective. While voters with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to be de-biased by such information, most voters do not seem to interpret such information rationally.
JEL Classification: C92, D7, D02, D03
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation