When is Voting Optimal?

25 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2015

See all articles by Ruth Ben-Yashar

Ruth Ben-Yashar

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics

Leif Danziger

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Date Written: December 29, 2014

Abstract

We consider a framework where the optimal decision rule determining the collective choice depends in a simple way on the decision makers’ posterior probabilities of a particular state of nature. Nevertheless, voting is generally an inefficient way to make collective choices and this paper sheds light on the relationship between the optimal decision rule and voting mechanisms. The paper derives the conditions under which the optimal decision rule is equivalent to some well-known voting procedure (weighted supermajority, weighted majority, and simple majority) and shows that these are very stringent. The paper also considers more general voting procedures, as for example allowing for abstentions, and shows that the conditions for reaching the optimal collective choice remain very stringent.

Keywords: voting rule, common goal, collective choice

JEL Classification: D70, D71

Suggested Citation

Ben-Yashar, Ruth and Danziger, Leif, When is Voting Optimal? (December 29, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5116, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2548991

Ruth Ben-Yashar

Bar-Ilan University - Department of Economics ( email )

Ramat-Gan, 52900
Israel

Leif Danziger (Contact Author)

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev - Department of Economics ( email )

Beer-Sheva 84105
Israel
8-6472295 (Phone)
8-6472941 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.bgu.ac.il/facultym/danziger/main.htm

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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