A Shut Mouth Catches No Flies: Consideration of Issues and Voting

50 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017 Last revised: 2 Sep 2017

Salvador Barberà

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Anke Gerber

Universität Hamburg

Date Written: September 1, 2017


We study collective decision-making procedures involving the formation of an agenda of issues and the subsequent vote on the position for each issue on the agenda. Issues that are not on the agenda remain unsettled. We use a protocol-free equilibrium concept introduced by Dutta et al. (2004) and show for two prominent voting procedures that essentially any subset of issues may be excluded from the agenda in equilibrium. What is voted upon and what is not depends on the voters' preferences in a subtle manner, suggesting a high degree of instability. We also discuss further conditions under which this "anything goes" result may be qualified. In particular, we study those cases where all issues will be put in the agenda.

Keywords: Issues, agendas, voting rules, equilibrium collections of continuation agendas

JEL Classification: D71, D72

Suggested Citation

Barberà, Salvador and Gerber, Anke, A Shut Mouth Catches No Flies: Consideration of Issues and Voting (September 1, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2988283 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2988283

Salvador Barberà Sàndez

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ( email )

Edifici B - Campus Bellaterra
Barcelona, 08193

Anke Gerber (Contact Author)

Universität Hamburg ( email )

Fakulty of Economics and Social Sciences
Von-Melle-Park 5
Hamburg, 20146

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