What follows are the verbal and written instructions provided to subjects prior to play. The use of these instruments is described in the text.
A.1 General verbal instructions (before breaking into groups)
We are going to conduct an experiment on the properties of voting rules in two-dimensional spatial voting models. This should help us test some theories about the differences between majority rule and unanimity rule and help you get exposure to some of the science behind political science.
Subjects who choose to participate will be randomly assigned to one of ___ groups. We will run our experiments in these groups—one voting under majority rule, another voting under unanimity rule—for 10 rounds. When the experiments are done, you will fill out a brief questionnaire and payment form. You will get paid based on the distance between the final outcome and your ideal point as outlined in the instructions. The maximum you can get paid is $15. The least you will get paid is $1. We will tell you how much you will get paid at the end of the experiment.
We will now pass out two consent forms (one for you and one for us). If you are interested in participating, please read and fill out the consent forms.
We will now go around the room and assign subjects to groups. Please keep your packets face down until we ask you to turn them over. Your participation is entirely voluntary. If you do not want to participate, please say so when we come to you, and we will pick up your forms. We can only use ___ of you today, so unfortunately we will have to skip some of you. We ask that students who do not participate stay in the class and observe the proceedings for educational purposes. You might even be able to help us keep time or record information in the experiment, if you’d like. If you do help us, then we will give you your choice of a candy bar or a breakfast bar as a token of our appreciation.
The leader of your group will describe the method of proposing alternatives and how voting will proceed. We hope you enjoy the experiment.
A.2 Majority rule verbal instructions (upon arrival in the experimental room)
Please turn over your packets and read the instructions for the practice rounds. We will be voting for 4 rounds so that you can get the hang of what we will be doing in the experimental rounds. There should be no talking, or other communication, during the experiment [pause: roughly 5 minutes for instruction reading].
Voting will proceed as follows. Any one of you can raise your hand and propose an alternative, which is identified by any pair of numbers between 0 and 100 inclusive (real numbers in increments of 0.01 are acceptable). For example, you may propose (50,0) or you may propose (0.01,0.81). Proposal values can be repeated as many times as the group wants but each person will be allowed to propose once before anyone is allowed to propose a second or a third time. To propose, first state your identification number (on the top left hand corner of the payoff page), then the x and y values of your proposal (between 0 and 100 inclusive). After a proposal is made we will allow 30 seconds for members of your group to think about the choices. We will then vote on the proposal versus the status quo (the alternative we have now) by a show of hands. A proposal passes if more subjects vote yea than nay. If the proposal passes, it will become the new status quo. If it does not pass, then the status quo remains the same. In the practice rounds, voting continues for exactly 4 rounds. In the 4th round, voting stops. If this were the actual experiment, you would be paid based on the distance between the alternative selected at the end of the game and your ideal point. The closer the final alternative is to your ideal point, the more you will get paid. The exact amount you will get paid will be presented before the experimental rounds. Any questions?
There is no talking or communication during the experiment. We also ask that you cover-up your paper so that others don’t see your ideal point. [run 4 practice rounds]
Please pass your papers related to the practice rounds to the front of the room. [after collecting] Please open your manila envelopes and pull out the stapled papers (this should be the first of three forms in the envelope. The other two are a brief questionnaire and a payment form that you will fill out later). Please take a moment and read over the instructions on the stapled sheet. [pause: roughly 3 minutes].
We will now vote in the experimental rounds following the same procedures as we did before. However, voting will continue for exactly 10 rounds, and you have probably received a new ideal point. Your ideal point is on the third page, not the second page. The second page only helps you to understand the payment schedule. You will get paid based on the distance between the alternative selected at the end of the game (on the third page) and your ideal point. The closer the final alternative is to your ideal point, the more you will get paid. If the final outcome is at your ideal point, you will receive the maximum amount which is $15. If the final outcome is extremely far away from your ideal point, you will receive the minimum payment of $1. Any questions?
[run experimental rounds—10]. Now that the experiment is over, there are two things that we need you to do before we return to the original room. First, pull out the remaining sheets of paper from the envelope and answer the questions on the brief questionnaire. Your responses are voluntary. [pause momentarily]. Second, please fill out your payment form completely, including your group number and subject id number on the top. If you would like to get paid, we need your social security number for tax purposes. Ten digit student id numbers cannot be used for this purpose. We go to great lengths to protect your social security number. For example, as soon as your payment is processed, this form will be shredded, and no record of your personal information will be kept with experimental information.
[when finished] Please put all your materials back into your manila envelope. If you would like to know how much you will be paid, please follow me back to your classroom. If you want to leave now, please hand me your packet. In either case, you will receive a check in the mail shortly. Thanks for participating.
A.3 Written instructions (experimental rounds)
Each subject is assigned an ideal point, which is a point of greatest payoff on a square. As a group, you will vote on alternatives (points in the square) in a pair-wise fashion using simple majority rule. At the end of voting, you will receive payment based on how close the final alternative is to your ideal point. The closer the final alternative is to your ideal point, the more you get paid.
Voting will proceed as follows. When we start, the original alternative or status quo on the floor will be (10, 10). Any one of you can then raise your hand and propose another alternative, which is identified by any pair of numbers between 0 and 100 inclusive (real numbers in increments of 0.01 are acceptable). For example, you may propose (50,0) or you may propose (0.01,0.81). Proposal values can be repeated as many times as the group wants, but each person will be allowed to propose once before anyone is allowed to propose a second or a third time. To propose, first state your identification number (on the top left hand corner of the third page), then the x and y values of your proposal (between 0 and 100 inclusive). After a proposal is made, we will allow 30 seconds for members of your group to think about the choices. We will then vote on the proposal versus the alternative on the floor. If the proposal wins a simple majority (i.e., more subjects vote yea than nay), then it will become the new alternative on the floor. If it does not win a majority, or there is a tie, then the alternative on the floor remains the same. Voting continues for exactly 10 rounds. In the 10th round, voting stops and subjects are paid based on the distance between the alternative selected at the end of the game and their ideal point. The closer the final alternative is to your ideal point, the more you get paid. See the attached page for specifics.
All activities that occur during the experiment are described on this page and the subsequent pages which detail the payment schedule. A very brief exit questionnaire will also be handed out at the end of the experiment. There will be no coercion, and you have the right to leave at any time.
PLEASE, NO TALKING DURING THE EXPERIMENT!
Each of you will receive payment based on the distance between your ideal point and the alternative prevailing at the end of the game. You will receive $15.00 for an outcome exactly on your ideal point, $13.50 for an outcome 10 units away from your ideal point, $12.00 for an outcome 20 units away from your ideal point, etc. Payments will be in dollars and cents. Hence, an outcome 9 units away from your ideal point will give you $13.65.
To get a better feel for the payment schedule, consider the graph presented below. This individual has an ideal point at (60,40)—probably different than yours. He/she would receive $15 for an outcome exactly at (60,40); $13.50 for an outcome at (70,40), etc. Note that payments are based on the final outcome of the game. Intermediary steps are not considered in the payment. Further note that each of you will receive at least
$1 for participating and there is no chance that anyone will lose money.
YOUR GROUP NUMBER: 1 YOUR IDENTIFICATION NUMBER: 1
YOUR IDEAL POINT: (63.1, 61.1)
Each member of your group is assigned an ideal point on a 100×100 square as indicated in the first graph below. Your ideal point is indicated by the green diamond (colors appearing in the on-line version). The ideal points of the other members are indicated by the blue circles. The initial alternative (status quo) is indicated by the red triangle.