American Economic Review: Vol. 98 No. 3 (June 2008)


Quick Tools:

Print Article Summary
Export Citation
Sign up for Email Alerts Follow us on Twitter


AER - All Issues

AER Forthcoming Articles

Information Aggregation in Polls

Article Citation

Morgan, John, and Phillip C. Stocken. 2008. "Information Aggregation in Polls." American Economic Review, 98(3): 864-96.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.3.864


We study information transmission via polling. A policymaker polls constituents, who differ in their information and ideology, to determine policy. Full revelation is an equilibrium in a poll with a small sample, but not with a large one. In large polls, full information aggregation can arise in an equilibrium where constituents endogenously sort themselves into centrists, who respond truthfully, and extremists, who do not. We find polling statistics that ignore strategic behavior yield biased estimators and mischaracterize the poll's margin of error. We construct estimators that account for strategic behavior. Finally, we compare polls and elections.

Article Full-Text Access

Full-text Article

Additional Materials

Link to Appendix (171.10 KB)


Morgan, John (U CA, Berkeley)
Stocken, Phillip C. (Dartmouth College)

JEL Classifications

D82: Asymmetric and Private Information
C42: Survey Methods

American Economic Review

Quick Tools:

Sign up for Email Alerts

Follow us on Twitter

Subscription Information
(Institutional Administrator Access)


AER - All Issues

AER - Forthcoming Articles

Virtual Field Journals

AEA Member Login:

AEAweb | AEA Journals | Contact Us