DP3508 | Storable Votes

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Publication Date

20/08/2002

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Abstract

Motivated by the need for more flexible decision-making mechanisms in the European Union, the paper proposes a simple but novel voting scheme for binary decisions taken by committees that meet regularly over time. At each meeting, committee members are allowed to store their vote for future use; the decision is then taken according to the majority of votes cast. The possibility of shifting votes intertemporally allows agents to concentrate their votes when preferences are more intense, and although the scheme will not in general achieve full efficiency, making votes storable typically leads to ex ante welfare gains. The analysis in the paper suggests that the result will hold if one of the following conditions is satisfied: (i) the number of voters is above a minimum threshold; (ii) preferences are not too polarized; (iii) the horizon is long enough.