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Voters Can Have Strong Incentives To Become Informed, Or To Be Strategically Ignorant

Hanson, Robin (1996) Voters Can Have Strong Incentives To Become Informed, Or To Be Strategically Ignorant. Social Science Working Paper, 968. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Before an election, two candidates choose policies which are lotteries over election-day distributive positions. I find conditions under which there exist mixed-strategy probabilistic-voting equilibria which are independent, treating voter groups independently. When voter efforts determine the quality of their signals regarding candidate positions, voters can have strong incentives regarding their visible efforts made before candidates choose policies. Also, scale economies in group information production can make voters prefer large groups. Even with zero information costs, however, voters can ex ante prefer ignorance to full information. Optimal ignorance emphasizes negative over positive news, and induces candidates to take stable positions.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Additional Information:Revised version. Original date unknown. I thank Mike Alvarez, Matt Jackson, Steven Knack, John Ledyard, Richard McKelvey, and Thomas Palfrey for comments on earlier versions of this paper. I especially thank Kim Border for help in thinking about proving existence. I thank the New Millennium Program Office of the Jet Propulsion Lab of NASA for financial support.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
JPL New Millennium Program OfficeUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:968
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170816-141436805
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80498
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:17 Aug 2017 17:17
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:31

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