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The Dark Side of the Vote: Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting

Rebecca Morton (), Marco Piovesan () and Jean-Robert Tyran ()

No 13-017, Harvard Business School Working Papers from Harvard Business School

Abstract: We experimentally investigate information aggregation through majority voting when some voters are biased. In such situations, majority voting can have a "dark side", i.e. result in groups making choices inferior to those made by individuals acting alone. We develop a model to predict how two types of social information shape efficiency in the presence of biased voters and we test these predictions using a novel experimental design. In line with predictions, we find that information on the popularity of policy choices is beneficial when a minority of voters is biased, but harmful when a majority is biased. In theory, information on the success of policy choices elsewhere de-biases voters and alleviates the inefficiency. In the experiment, providing social information on success is ineffective. While voters with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to be de-biased by such information, most voters do not seem to interpret such information rationally.

JEL-codes: C92 D7 D02 D03 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-exp and nep-pol
Date: 2012-08
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Related works:
Working Paper: The dark side of the vote: Biased voters, social information, and information aggregation through majority voting (2013) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dark Side of the Vote: Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: The Dark Side of the Vote - Biased Voters, Social Information, and Information Aggregation Through Majority Voting (2012) Downloads
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