Expert Advice to a Voting Body
19 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2013 Last revised: 30 May 2015
Date Written: May 27, 2015
I provide a theory of information transmission in collective choice settings. In the model, an expert has private information on the effect of a policy proposal and communicates to a set of voters prior to a vote over whether or not to implement the proposal. In contrast to previous game-theoretic models of political communication, the results apply to situations involving multiple voters, multidimensional policy spaces and a broad class of voting rules. The results highlight how experts can use information to manipulate collective choices in a way that reduces the ex ante expected utilities of all voters. Opportunities for expert manipulation are the result of collective choice instability: all voting rules that allow collective preference cycles also allow welfare-reducing manipulative persuasion by an expert. The results challenge prevailing theories of institutions in which procedures are designed to maximize information transmission.
Keywords: signaling, cheap talk, social choice theory
JEL Classification: D70, D71, D72, D78, D82, D83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation