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On Plurality Voting and Runoff Elections: Information Revelation Under Divided Majority


This article compares Plurality Voting (PV) and two forms of Runoff Elections (RE) in a setting in which (i) there are two majority-preferred alternatives, (ii) a strong minority backs a third alternative which would make the majority strictly worse off, and (iii) some of the majority voters are uninformed about the “correct" majority alternative. I show that in Majority Runoff Elections (MRE), there exists an informative equilibrium in which uninformed majority voters vote randomly with strictly positive probability, achieving partial information revelation. Meanwhile, uninformed majority voters always abstain in the unique informative equilibrium in Automatic Runoff Elections (ARE), achieving full information revelation and strictly improving the majority’s welfare. However, uninformed majority voters never abstain in PV, resulting in less information revelation than in both MRE and ARE.

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  1. Bouton et al. (2016) use a similar environment to study Approval Voting.


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I thank Mark Fey for valuable comments on the paper.


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Correspondence to Jacque Gao.

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Gao, J. On Plurality Voting and Runoff Elections: Information Revelation Under Divided Majority. Homo Oecon (2022).

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  • Formal model
  • Epistemic democracy
  • Information revelation
  • Voting

JEL Classification

  • C7
  • D8