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Essays on information and collective choice Bhattacharya, Sukanta

Abstract

This thesis consists of three essays that attempt to contribute towards a better understanding of the collective choice problems in presence of incomplete information. The first essay of this dissertation investigates a voting model with conflict of interest between the designer of the voting rule and the voters who share a common preference. We show that, given sophisticated voting by the voters, designer’s optimal voting rule either nearly coincides with the voters’ optimal rule or is a near unanimity rule for one of the alternatives. When the designer has a very strong bias in favour of one of the alternatives, her best option may lie in increasing the threshold of votes for that alternative. The second essay discusses an indirect voting mechanism that can achieve better informational efficiency. It is well known that under usual (simultaneous) voting rules, private information held by voters are [sic] imperfectly aggregated. We consider a multi-round sequential voting procedure which allows voters to choose when to cast their votes. Without any conflict of interest among voters, there is always an equilibrium under this rule which perfectly aggregates all the available information. Moreover, in an environment with conflicting interest among voters, we show that this indirect, mechanism achieves as an equilibrium outcome what pre-play communication can achieve. The third essay examines committee design under endogenous information and shows that two opposing effects--the free-rider effect and the information complementarity effect--could get intensified in different parameter regions as the committee size increases. This induces a trade-off between quality and quantity of information for the committee designer. The model identifies parametric situations where it may be optimal to create a smaller committee to ensure better quality of information.

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