14th journées Louis-André Gérard-Varet

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On ignorant voters and busy(?) politicians
Emre Aytimur, Christian Bruns

Last modified: 2015-03-15


It is often argued that ignorant voters cannot hold elected politicians accountable. While this may be true in case of few voters, we show that a large electorate of ignorant voters can succeed in establishing high levels of accountability. In our model an incumbent politician is confronted with a large number of voters who receive very noisy signals about his performance. We find that the accountability problem can be solved well in the sense that the incumbent exerts effort as if she faced a representative voter who receives a perfect signal about her performance. Our results thus shed light on another potential blessing of large electorates in addition to information aggregation as postulated by the jury theorem.


accountability; elections; information; jury theorem