Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 901–919 | Cite as

Simple plurality versus plurality runoff with privately informed voters

  • César Martinelli


This paper compares two voting methods commonly used in presidential elections: simple plurality voting and plurality runoff. In a situation in which a group of voters have common interests but do not agree on which candidate to support due to private information, information aggregation requires them to split their support between their favorite candidates. However, if a group of voters split their support, they increase the probability that the winner of the election is not one of their favorite candidates. In a model with three candidates, due to this tension between information aggregation and the need for coordination, plurality runoff leads to higher expected utility for the majority than simple plurality voting if the information held by voters about the candidates is not very accurate.


Private Information Expected Utility Common Interest Presidential Election Information Aggregation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • César Martinelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Investigación Económica, Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, México, D.F. 10700 (e-mail:

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