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Journal Article

Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem

David Austen-Smith and Jeffrey S. Banks
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 90, No. 1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 34-45
DOI: 10.2307/2082796
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2082796
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Information Aggregation, Rationality, and the Condorcet Jury Theorem
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Abstract

The Condorcet Jury Theorem states that majorities are more likely than any single individual to select the "better" of two alternatives when there exists uncertainty about which of the two alternatives is in fact preferred. Most extant proofs of this theorem implicitly make the behavioral assumption that individuals vote "sincerely" in the collective decision making, a seemingly innocuous assumption, given that individuals are taken to possess a common preference for selecting the better alternative. However, in the model analyzed here we find that sincere behavior by all individuals is not rational even when individuals have such a common preference. In particular, sincere voting does not constitute a Nash equilibrium. A satisfactory rational choice foundation for the claim that majorities invariably "do better" than individuals, therefore, has yet to be derived.

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