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Overcoming Ideological Bias in Elections

Vijay Krishna and John Morgan

Journal of Political Economy, 2011, vol. 119, issue 2, 183 - 211

Abstract: We study a model in which voters choose between two candidates on the basis of both ideology and competence. While the ideology of the candidates is commonly known, voters are imperfectly informed about competence. Voter preferences, however, are such that ideology alone determines voting. When voting is compulsory, the candidate of the majority ideology prevails, and this may not be optimal from a social perspective. However, when voting is voluntary and costly, we show that turnout adjusts endogenously so that the outcome of a large election is always first-best.

Date: 2011
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