Monday, March 7th, 2016 2:47 pm

Primary Voting

Question A: There is no perfect voting system. That is, no voting system can ensure that the winner will be the person who best represents voters’ wishes, including how intensely they favor or disfavor each candidate.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question B: One clear defect of a winner-take-all election with 3 or more candidates, and with each voter choosing only one candidate, is that a candidate who is strongly disliked by a majority, but strongly liked by a minority, can beat a candidate who is liked by a majority and disliked by relatively few.

Responses
 

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Responses weighted by each expert's confidence

Source: IGM Economic Experts Panel
www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel

Question A Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Strongly Agree 9
Just another day's work for Ken Arrow
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Strongly Agree 9
Condorcet paradox
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Strongly Agree 9 Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Strongly Agree 10
This is a 1950 theorem of Kenneth Arrow. "A Difficulty in the Concept of Social Welfare" Journal of Political Economy.
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Agree 5
especially with lots of candidates
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Strongly Agree 10
This is well worked out theoretically. But it doesn't mean voting isn't better than the alternatives! (Answer by Andrew B. Hall)
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Strongly Agree 10
We know from Arrow's impossibility theorem that no voting system can aggregate preferences perfectly even if people vote honestly.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Strongly Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Strongly Agree 10
Ken Arrow actually has proved a theorem to this effect (that holds under pretty general conditions).
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Strongly Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Strongly Agree 9
Arrow's theorem implies there is no perfect system using only ordinal preferences. Cardinal systems are strategically manipulable.
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Strongly Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Strongly Agree 10
There is extensive research and impossibility results showing that there is no perfect voting system.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Agree 7
However alternatives that allow for multiple votes per person can achieve outcomes that better reflect intensity of opinions.
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Strongly Agree 10
The one exception is dictatorship, so there is only one voter.
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Strongly Agree 10
Arrow proved this. Like asking if 2+2=4.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         

Question B Participant Responses

Participant University Vote Confidence Comment Bio/Vote History
Acemoglu Daron Acemoglu MIT Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Alesina Alberto Alesina Harvard Strongly Agree 9
Bio/Vote History
         
Altonji Joseph Altonji Yale Strongly Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Auerbach Alan Auerbach Berkeley Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Autor David Autor MIT Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Baicker Katherine Baicker Harvard Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Banerjee Abhijit Banerjee MIT Agree 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Bertrand Marianne Bertrand Chicago Strongly Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Brunnermeier Markus Brunnermeier Princeton Agree 6
strategic voting behavior can help to reduce the problem.
Bio/Vote History
         
Chetty Raj Chetty Harvard Agree 5
Bio/Vote History
         
Chevalier Judith Chevalier Yale Agree 9
The issue is discussed nicely in the popular article I link, even though the specific polling status of the candidates is now very dated!
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Cutler David Cutler Harvard Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Deaton Angus Deaton Princeton Agree 4
Bio/Vote History
         
Duffie Darrell Duffie Stanford Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Edlin Aaron Edlin Berkeley Agree 7
I would say "imperfection" not defect. Compared to what, though is the question, as there is no perfect system ...
Bio/Vote History
         
Eichengreen Barry Eichengreen Berkeley No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Einav Liran Einav Stanford Uncertain 6
Bio/Vote History
         
Fair Ray Fair Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Finkelstein Amy Finkelstein MIT Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goldberg Pinelopi Goldberg Yale Did Not Answer
Bio/Vote History
         
Goolsbee Austan Goolsbee Chicago Strongly Agree 8
but isn't it fun to watch it happen?
Bio/Vote History
         
Greenstone Michael Greenstone Chicago Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Hall Robert Hall Stanford Agree 9
Strategic voting should in principle help, but in practice coordination failures clearly do occur. This is one reason why runoffs are a good
-see background information here
Bio/Vote History
         
Hart Oliver Hart Harvard Strongly Agree 10
46% of people rank 3 candidates A,C,B. ( A first, B last.) 44% rank them B,C,A. 10% rank them C,B,A. Then A wins,but C may be better.
Bio/Vote History
         
Holmström Bengt Holmström MIT Strongly Agree 6
The words liked and disliked are too ambiguous but with my interpretation the answer is obvious.
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoxby Caroline Hoxby Stanford Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         
Hoynes Hilary Hoynes Berkeley No Opinion
Bio/Vote History
         
Judd Kenneth Judd Stanford Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Kaplan Steven Kaplan Chicago Strongly Agree 10
Looks like that may be happening this year.
Bio/Vote History
         
Kashyap Anil Kashyap Chicago Agree 5
Nonetheless, this does not absolve the U.S. citizens if we elect Trump!
Bio/Vote History
         
Klenow Pete Klenow Stanford Agree 3
Bio/Vote History
         
Levin Jonathan Levin Stanford Agree 5
A defect, but alternatives that try to fix it like run-off elections or transferable voting, have drawbacks as well.
Bio/Vote History
         
Maskin Eric Maskin Harvard Strongly Agree 9
This is a well-known defect of plurality rule
Bio/Vote History
         
Nordhaus William Nordhaus Yale Agree 8
Single transferable vote would overcome this problem.
Bio/Vote History
         
Saez Emmanuel Saez Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Samuelson Larry Samuelson Yale Agree 8
Winner-take-all elections with multiple candidates are fertile ground for generating perverse results.
Bio/Vote History
         
Scheinkman José Scheinkman Princeton Agree 7
Bio/Vote History
         
Schmalensee Richard Schmalensee MIT Strongly Agree 9
Assumes a one-round, plurality wins system.
Bio/Vote History
         
Shapiro Carl Shapiro Berkeley Agree 8
Bio/Vote History
         
Shimer Robert Shimer Chicago Agree 5
I hesitate only because I'm not sure whether this is necessarily a defect. The rest of the claim is true.
Bio/Vote History
         
Thaler Richard Thaler Chicago Agree 7
Yes, stuff can happen. Follows from question 1.
Bio/Vote History
         
Udry Christopher Udry Yale Strongly Agree 10
Bio/Vote History
         

10 New Economic Experts join the IGM Panel


For the past two years, our expert panelists have been informing the public about the extent to which economists agree or disagree on important public policy issues. This week, we are delighted to announce that we are expanding the IGM Economic Experts Panel to add ten new distinguished economists. Like our other experts, these new panelists have impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters, and their names will be familiar to other economists and the media.

To give the public a broad sense of their views on policy issues, each new expert has responded to a selection of 16 statements that our panel had previously addressed. We chose these 16 statements, which cover a wide range of important policy areas, because the original panelists' responses to them were analyzed in a paper comparing the views of our economic experts with those of the American public. You can find that paper, by Paola Sapienza and Luigi Zingales, here. The paper, along with other analyses of the experts' views, was discussed during the American Economic Association annual meetings, and the video can be found here.

The new panelists' responses to these statements can be seen on their individual voting history pages. Our ten new economic experts are:

Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
Markus K. Brunnermeier (Princeton)
Liran Einav (Stanford)
Amy Finkelstein (MIT)
Oliver Hart (Harvard)
Hilary Hoynes (Berkeley)
Steven N. Kaplan (Chicago)
Larry Samuelson (Yale)
Carl Shapiro (Berkeley)
Robert Shimer (Chicago)


Please note that, for the 16 previous topics on which these new panelists have voted, we left the charts showing the distribution of responses unchanged. Those charts reflect the responses that our original panelists gave at the time, and we have not altered them to reflect the views of the new experts.

We have also taken this opportunity to ask our original panelists whether they would vote differently on any of the statements we have asked about in the past. Several experts chose to highlight statements to which they would currently respond differently. In such cases, you will see this "revote" below the panelist's original vote. We think you will enjoy seeing examples of statements on which some experts have reconsidered.

As with the 16 previous statements voted on by new panelists, these "revote" responses are not reflected in the chart that we display showing the distribution of views for that topic: all the charts for previous questions reflect the distribution of views that the experts expressed when the statement was originally posed.

About the IGM Economic Experts Panel

This panel explores the extent to which economists agree or disagree on major public policy issues. To assess such beliefs we assembled this panel of expert economists. Statistics teaches that a sample of (say) 40 opinions will be adequate to reflect a broader population if the sample is representative of that population.

To that end, our panel was chosen to include distinguished experts with a keen interest in public policy from the major areas of economics, to be geographically diverse, and to include Democrats, Republicans and Independents as well as older and younger scholars. The panel members are all senior faculty at the most elite research universities in the United States. The panel includes Nobel Laureates, John Bates Clark Medalists, fellows of the Econometric society, past Presidents of both the American Economics Association and American Finance Association, past Democratic and Republican members of the President's Council of Economics, and past and current editors of the leading journals in the profession. This selection process has the advantage of not only providing a set of panelists whose names will be familiar to other economists and the media, but also delivers a group with impeccable qualifications to speak on public policy matters.

Finally, it is important to explain one aspect of our voting process. In some instances a panelist may neither agree nor disagree with a statement, and there can be two very different reasons for this. One case occurs when an economist is an expert on a topic and yet sees the evidence on the exact claim at hand as ambiguous. In such cases our panelists vote "uncertain". A second case relates to statements on topics so far removed from the economist's expertise that he or she feels unqualified to vote. In this case, our panelists vote "no opinion".

The Economic Experts Panel questions are emailed individually to the members of the panel, and each responds electronically at his or her convenience. Panelists may consult whatever resources they like before answering.

Members of the public are free to suggest questions (see link below), and the panelists suggest many themselves. Members of the IGM faculty are responsible for deciding the final version of each week’s question. We usually send a draft of the question to the panel in advance, and invite them to point out problems with the wording if they see any. In response, we typically receive a handful of suggested clarifications from individual experts. This process helps us to spot inconsistencies, and to reduce vagueness or problems of interpretation.

The panel data are copyrighted by the Initiative on Global Markets and are being analyzed for an article to appear in a leading peer-reviewed journal.

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