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Title: Let the Experts Decide? Asymmetric Information, Abstention, and Coordination in Standing Committees

Authors: Rebecca Morton, New York University, Department of Politics
                Jean-Robert Tyran, University of Copenhage, Department of Economics

Abstract:

We examine abstention when voters in standing committees are asymmetrically informed and there are multiple pure strategy equilibria-swing voterís curse (SVC) equilibria where voters with low quality information abstain and equilibria when all participants vote their information. When the asymmetry in information quality is large, we find that voting groups largely coordinate on the SVC equilibrium which is also Pareto Optimal. However, we find that when the asymmetry in information quality is not large and the Pareto Optimal equilibrium is for all to participate, significant numbers of voters with low quality information abstain. Furthermore, we find that information asymmetry induces voters with low quality information to coordinate on a non-equilibrium outcome. This suggests that coordination on "letting the experts" decide is a likely voting norm that sometimes validates SVC equilibrium predictions but other times does not.