Correlated Equilibria in Voter Turnout Games
Communication is fundamental to elections. This paper extends canonical voter turnout models to include any form of communication, and characterizes the resulting set of correlated equilibria. In contrast to previous research, high-turnout equilibria exist in large electorates and uncertain environments. This difference arises because communication can be used to coordinate behavior in such a way that voters find it incentive compatible to always follow their signals past the communication stage. The equilibria have expected turnout of at least twice the size of the minority for a wide range of positive voting costs, and show intuitive comparative statics on turnout: it varies with the relative sizes of diff t groups, and decreases with the cost of voting. This research provides a general micro foundation for group-based theories of voter mobilization, or voting driven by communication on a network.
First draft: February 2013. I am indebted to Tom Palfrey for guidance and encouragement. I thank Marina Agranov, R. Michael Alvarez, Kim Border, Laurent Bouton, Federico Echenique, Matt Elliott, Alexander Hirsch, John Ledyard, Priscilla Man, Francesco Nava, Salvatore Nunnari, Yuval Salant, Erik Snowberg, and Leeat Yariv for insightful comments and discussions. I thank Erik Snowberg for helping me improve my writing style. I thank Jean-Laurent Rosenthal and the audience of the pro-seminar at Caltech, Leslie Johns and participants of the UCLA workshop, conference participants at the 2014 meetings of the Midwest Political Science Association, Society for Social Choice and Welfare, North American Summer Meeting of the Econometric Society, the American Political Science Association, and seminar participants at Princeton, Texas A&M, UCSD, U Penn, NRU-HSE, Warwick, Maastricht, U of Melbourne, UNSW, and UTS.
Submitted - sswp1395.pdf