"Efficiency, Equity, and Timing in Voting Mechanisms"
(with R. Morton and T. Palfrey)
the behavior of voters, depending on whether they operate under
sequential and simultaneous voting rules, when voting is costly and
information is incomplete. In many real political institutions,
ranging from small committees to mass elections, voting is sequential,
which allows some voters to know the choices of earlier voters.
For a stylized model, we characterize the equilibria for this rule, and
compare it to simultaneous voting, and show how these equilibria vary
for different voting costs. This generates a variety of
predictions about the relative efficiency and equity of these two
systems, which we test using controlled laboratory experiments.
Most of the qualitative predictions are supported by the data, but
there are significant departures from the predicted equilibrium
strategies, in both the sequential and sumultanous voting games. We
find a tradeoff between information aggregation, efficiency, and equity
in sequential voting: a sequential voting rule aggregates
information better, and produces more efficient outcomes on average,
compared to simultaneous voting, but sequential voting leads to
significant inequities, with later voters benfitting at the expense of