Brexit: A comparison of dynamic voting games with irreversible options

Benny Moldovanu, Frank Rosar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A large polarized electorate decides repeatedly between a reversible alternative (REMAIN) and an irreversible alternative (LEAVE) in an environment where the aggregate short-term effects of the decision vary from period to period. Decisions by simple majority or by a too low supermajority may perform poorly under circumstances where it is socially optimal to never LEAVE, as they can exhibit equilibria where LEAVE is chosen quickly. In general, a too low supermajority rule can have much higher welfare costs than a too high supermajority rule. If REMAIN also becomes permanent when it wins by a large enough margin, and if a new vote is triggered otherwise, particularly poor performances of the simple majority rule are avoided. The large asymmetry in potential welfare costs disappears, and the majority requirement becomes a relatively less important instrument.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-108
Number of pages24
JournalGames and Economic Behavior
Volume130
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dynamic voting
  • Irreversible option
  • Option value
  • Supermajority rules
  • Voting by two-sided supermajority

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