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Voting in Three-Alternative Committees: An Experiment

Department of Economics and Finance, Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics, University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph ON N1G 2W1, Canada
Department of Economics, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA 94132, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Games 2019, 10(2), 20;
Received: 14 March 2019 / Revised: 12 April 2019 / Accepted: 18 April 2019 / Published: 1 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Political Economy, Social Choice and Game Theory)
PDF [1349 KB, uploaded 12 June 2019]


We design an experiment to test how voters vote in a small committee election with three alternatives. Voters have common preferences that depend on an unknown state of nature. Each voter receives an imprecise private signal prior to the election and then casts a vote. The alternative with the most votes wins. We fix the number of voters in our experiment to be five and focus on differences in the information structure (prior and signal distributions). We test three different treatments (different prior and signal distributions) that pose different challenges for the voters. In one, simply voting for one’s signal is an equilibrium. In the other two, it is not. Despite the different levels of complexity for the voters, they come relatively close to the predicted strategies (that sometimes involve mixing). As a consequence, the efficiency of the decision is also relatively high and comes close to predicted levels. In one variation of the experiment, we calculate posterior beliefs for the subjects and post them. In another, we do not. Interestingly, the important findings do not change. View Full-Text
Keywords: committees; efficient information aggregation; simple plurality rule; Condorcet jury theorem committees; efficient information aggregation; simple plurality rule; Condorcet jury theorem
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Goertz, J.M.; Chernomaz, K. Voting in Three-Alternative Committees: An Experiment. Games 2019, 10, 20.

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