Sophisticated Attacks on Decoy Ballots: A Devil's Menu and the Market for Lemons

CER-ETH Working Paper No. 17/283, December 2017

23 Pages Posted: 20 Dec 2017

See all articles by Hans Gersbach

Hans Gersbach

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Akaki Mamageishvili

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich

Oriol Tejada

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

Decoy ballots do not count in election outcomes, but otherwise they are indistinguishable from real ballots. By means of a game-theoretical model, we show that decoy ballots may not provide effective protection against a malevolent adversary trying to buy real ballots. If the citizenry is divided into subgroups (or districts), the adversary can construct a so-called "Devil's Menu" consisting of several prices. In equilibrium, the adversary can buy the real ballots of any strict subset of districts at a price corresponding to the willingness to sell on the part of the citizens holding such ballots. By contrast, decoy voters are trapped into selling their ballots at a low, or even negligible, price. Blowing up the adversary's budget by introducing decoy ballots may thus turn out to be futile. The Devil's Menu can also be applied to the well-known "Lemons Problem".

Keywords: voting, decoy votes, adversary, electronic voting, attacks, lemons market

JEL Classification: C72, D4, D82, D86

Suggested Citation

Gersbach, Hans and Mamageishvili, Akaki and Tejada, Oriol, Sophisticated Attacks on Decoy Ballots: A Devil's Menu and the Market for Lemons (November 2017). CER-ETH Working Paper No. 17/283, December 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3088508 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3088508

Hans Gersbach (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Reseaarch ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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Akaki Mamageishvili

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich ( email )

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Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

Oriol Tejada

ETH Zürich - CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich ( email )

Zürichbergstrasse 18
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland
41446329693 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cer.ethz.ch/mip/people/toriol

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