Lee et al.: Efficient Elicitation of Social Choice Functions in Crowdsourced Lawmaking

David T. Lee, Ashish Goel, Tanja Aitamurto, and Hélène Landemore presented a paper entitled Crowdsourcing for Participatory Democracies: Efficient Elicitation of Social Choice Functions, at Collective Intelligence 2014, held 10-12 June 2014, at MIT.

Here is a summary from the introduction to the paper:

[…] In this paper, we present theoretical and empirical results indicating the usefulness of voting rules for participatory democracies. We first give algorithms which efficiently elicit ϵ-approximations to two prominent voting rules: the Borda rule and the Condorcet winner. […] Essentially, we show that these voting rules, which scale inefficiently, can be easy to implement when the winner wins by a margin or an approximation suffices.

We demonstrate the approach in an experiment in Finland’s recent off-road traffic law reform [Aitamurto and Landemore 2013]. The Finnish experiment, as we will refer to it from this point on, engaged the Finnish people in 1) identifying problems, 2) proposing solutions, and 3) evaluating ideas for the offroad traffic law. In the evaluation stage, 308 participants took part in ranking ideas in 41 different topics, each of which had a number of ideas ranging from 2 to 15. For ϵ = 0.05 and 0.1, we show that the total number of comparisons needed for all participants is linear in the number of ideas and that the constant is not large. […]

Finally, we note a few other experimental observations which support the use of voting rules for aggregation. First, we observe that rating, one of the common alternatives to ranking, manifested effects of bias in our data. Second, we show that very few of the topics lacked a Condorcet winner, one of the prominent negative results in voting. Finally, we show data hinting at a potential future direction: the use of partial rankings as opposed to pairwise comparisons to further decrease the elicitation time. […]

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