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Alessandra Casella (Columbia University)

7 June 2022 @ 12:00 - 13:15


  • Past event


7 June 2022
12:00 - 13:15
Event Category:
Academic Events

“Delegation under Liquid Democracy. Two Experiments”


Abstract. Under Liquid Democracy (LD), decisions are taken by referendum, but voters are allowed to delegate their votes to other voters. Theory shows that in common interest problems where the experts are correctly identified, the outcome can be superior to simple majority voting. However, delegation reduces the variety of independent information sources and can be advantageous only if used sparely. We report the results of two experiments, each studying two treatments: in one treatment, participants have the option of delegating to better informed individuals; in the second, participants can choose to abtain. The first experiment follows a tightly controlled design planned for the lab; the second is a perceptual task run online where information about signals’ precision is ambiguous. Although the experiments are very different, they reach the same result: in both, LD underperforms relative to both universal voting and abstention. In the lab experiment, we observe systematic overdelegation relative to the best theoretical eqiulibrium; in the perceptual task, we lack a precise theoretical benchmark, but delegation rates remain significantly higher than abstention rates. Faced with better informed experts, voters neglect the value of their own independent information.