Voting for Voters: A Model of Electoral Evolution

Salvador Barbera, Michael Maschler & Jonathan Shalev

We model the decision problems faced by the members of societies whose new members are determined by vote. We adopt a number of simplifying assumptions: the founders and the candidates are fixed; the society operates for k periods and holds elections at the beginning of each period; one vote is sufficient for admission, and voters can support as many candidates as they wish; voters assess the value of the streams of agents with whom they share the society, while they belong to it. In spite of these simplifications, we show that interesting strategic behavior implied by the dynamic structure of the problem: the vote for friends may be postponed, and it may be advantageous to vote for enemies. We discuss the exsitence of different types of equilibria in pure strategic and point out interesting equilibria in mixed strategies.

April, 1998
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