Welcome to the new version of CaltechAUTHORS. Login is currently restricted to library staff. If you notice any issues, please email coda@library.caltech.edu
Published May 1988 | public
Journal Article

Agendas, Strategic Voting, and Signaling with Incomplete Information


The literature on agendas with sincere and strategic voting represents an important contribution to our understanding of committees, of institutions, and of the opportunities to manipulate outcomes by the manipulation of institutions. That literature, though, imposes an assumption that may be unrealistic in many situations; namely, that everyone knows the preferences of everyone else. In this essay we apply Bayesian equilibrium analysis to show that the properties of agendas that others derive by assuming complete information do not hold necessarily under incomplete information. First, a Condorcet winner need not be selected, even if nearly everyone on the committee most prefers it. Second, the "two-step theorem," that any outcome reachable in n voting stages via some amendment agenda is reachable in two stages under sophisticated voting, need not hold. Third, nonbinding votes, such as straw polls, can critically affect final outcomes.

Additional Information

© 1988 Midwest Political Science Association. Manuscript submitted 29 May 1986. Final manuscript received 26 February 1987. This research was supported by National Science Foundation grants to Carnegie-Mellon University and to the University of Texas at Austin. We also wish to acknowledge the helpful suggestions of Howard Rosenthal, John Aldrich, Jeffrey Banks, Richard McKelvey, and Nicholas Miller, and in the case of one author, the support of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.

Additional details

August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023