Vote or Shout

Paper number: 10/06

Paper date: April 2010

Year: 2010

Paper Category: Discussion Paper


Surajeet Chakravarty and Todd R. Kaplan


We examine an environment with n voters each with a private value over two alternatives. We compare the social surplus of two mechanisms for deciding between them: majority voting and shouting. In majority voting, the choice with the most votes wins. With shouting, the voter who shouts the loudest (sends the costliest wasteful signal) chooses the outcome. We find that it is optimal to use voting in the case where n is large and value for each particular alternative of the voters is bounded. For other cases, the superior mechanism depends upon the order statistics of the distribution of values.

Key words: Voting, Lobbying, Order Statistics.

Vote or Shout Vote or Shout