14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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Non-Sincere Voting in Common Value Elections
Javier Rivas

Last modified: 2015-01-14


We consider a common value election between two candidates where there is imperfect information about who is the best candidate. Before the election, apart from a common prior each voter receives a private signal of a certain idiosyncratic quality, where the quality measures how well the signal predicts the best candidate. Within this setting, we study when a voter has incentives to vote against his signal even if his signal provides useful information and abstention is allowed (non-sincere voting). A voter may be vote non-sincerely if his signal is of lower quality than that of the common prior. In this case the voter maximizes utility whenever pivotal by following such prior, thus disregarding the information provided by his private signal. We characterize the possible equilibria and find that non-sincere voting can be present in equilibrium and the election does not in general aggregate information efficiently. As the number of voters grows large, however, non-sincere voting vanishes and the best candidate wins the election with probability one.


Abstention; Elections; Private Information; Non-Sincere Voting