Periodic Reporting for period 4 - InfoAggregation (Information Aggregation in Elections)
Reporting period: 2020-01-01 to 2020-06-30
The research conducted in the project has lead to a better understanding of these questions and their answers, as described below.
Over time, I also started working on information aggregation in the presence of an informed adversarial sender. In collaboration with my co-author and student, Carl Heese, I have developed a theory of persuasion in elections in which voters are heterogeneous and have access to other information. We have published a working paper, ""Persuasion and Information Aggregation in Elections."" In this working paper we show that many of the assumptions in Bayesian Persuasion can actually be substantially weakened, including the knowledge of the sender and its commitment power. Moreover, Carl Heese has studied further the process of information acquisition and its effect of information aggregation in his working paper ""Voter Attention and Distributive Politics.""
Finally, I have started to study non-binding elections more recently in collaboration with Mehmet Ekmekci. Such elections are particularly relevant in the context of shareholder voting because shareholder votes are typically not binding for the management. Thus, we study whether elections still aggregate information even if the decision maker does not commit to a particular outcome as a function of the election outcome. We are especially interested in the role of participation costs as a screening instrument. Other important applications are polls, petitions, and protests. We have published a working paper on ""Informal Elections with Dispersed Information."" Our main finding is that with costly participation such informal political processes enable significantly more information transmission than what was previously thought possible based on the analysis of models with purely ""cheap talk."" Moreover, we show that the economic forces determining information transmission are quite different, rather than the bias of the receiver and the inference from being pivotal, standard economic insights regarding the provision of public goods take center stage, leading to substitution and complementarity effects.
Research from this project has been widely disseminated. The research papers are all publicly posted and we distributed the papers to many researchers in the area. Moreover, research from this project has been presented in over 100 seminars around the world, in addition to being presented at many workshops and conferences."