Voting Behavior in One-Shot and Iterative Multiple Referenda
36 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 12, 2020
We consider a set of voters making a collective decision via simultaneous vote on two binary issues. Voters' preferences are captured by payoffs assigned to combinations of outcomes for each issue and they can be nonseparable: a voter's preference over an issue might be dependent on the other issue. When the collective decision in this context is reached by voting on both issues at the same time, multiple election paradoxes may arise, as studied extensively in the theoretical literature. In this paper we pursue an experimental approach and investigate the impact of iterative voting, in which groups deliberate by repeating the voting process until a final outcome is reached. Our results from experiments run in the lab show that voters tend to have an optimistic rather than a pessimistic behaviour when casting a vote on a non-separable issue and that iterated voting may in fact improve the social outcome. We provide the first comprehensive empirical analysis of individual and collective behavior in the multiple referendum setting.
Keywords: Behavioural social choice, Deliberation, Iterative voting, Multiple referenda, Voting on combinatorial domains
JEL Classification: C91, C92, D71, D72, D92
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