Common value elections with private information: experts vs masses when priors are asymmetric

Economics

Speaker:Javier Rivas, University of Bath
Date: Wednesday 14 October 2015
Time: 13.30
Location: Streatham Court B

Further details

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). In small elections and for some parameter configurations, voters maximize utility whenever pivotal by following the prior and disregarding the information provided by their private signal. We characterize possible equilibria and find that non-sincere voting can be present in equilibrium and small elections are not generally efficient. In an experiment we find that there is a substantial amount of non-sincere voting. While most experimental elections are efficient, voting behaviour does generally not reveal private information.