Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/162247
Authors: 
Buechel, Berno
Mechtenberg, Lydia
Year of Publication: 
2017
Series/Report no.: 
Nota di Lavoro, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 5.2017
Abstract: 
We study private communication in social networks prior to a majority vote on two alternative policies. Some (or all) agents receive a private imperfect signal about which policy is correct. They can, but need not, recommend a policy to their neighbors in the social network prior to the vote. We show theoretically and empirically that communication can undermine efficiency of the vote and hence reduce welfare in a common interest setting. Both efficiency and existence of fully informative equilibria in which vote recommendations are always truthfully given and followed hinge on the structure of the communication network. If some voters have distinctly larger audiences than others, their neighbors should not follow their vote recommendation; however, they may do so in equilibrium. We test the model in a lab experiment and strong support for the comparative-statics and, more generally, for the importance of the network structure for voting behavior.
Subjects: 
Strategic Voting
Social Networks
Swing Voter's Curse
Information Aggregation
JEL: 
D72
D83
D85
C91
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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