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Democracy for Polarized Committees: The Tale of Blotto's Lieutenants

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Working paper
Author/s: 
Alessandra Casella, Jean-François Laslier, Antonin Macé
Issue number: 
2016-12
Series: 
AMSE Working Papers
Publisher: 
Aix-Marseille School of Economics
Year: 
2016
In a polarized committee, majority voting disenfranchises the minority. By allowing voters to spend freely a fixed budget of votes over multiple issues, Storable Votes restores some minority power. We study a model of Storable Votes that highlights the hide-and-seek nature of the strategic game. With communication, the game replicates a classic Colonel Blotto game with asymmetric forces. We call the game without communication a decentralized Blotto game. We characterize theoretical results for this case and test both versions of the game in the laboratory. We find that, despite subjects deviating from equilibrium strategies, the minority wins as frequently as theory predicts. Because subjects understand the logic of the game – minority voters must concentrate votes unpredictably – the exact choices are of secondary importance. The result is an endorsement of the robustness of the voting rule.
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