Ameliorating majority decisiveness through expression of preference intensity

Eyal Baharad, Shmuel Nitzan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


In pairwise voting, when a simple majority rule produces a winner, that winner is robust to the minority's preferences. The typical means of protecting the minority from the decisiveness of the majority is by increasing the required majority or by augmenting the simple majority rule with constitutional constraints. In the former case the required majority q becomes larger than one-half, and this implies that the q-majority rule becomes biased in favor of one of the alternatives, usually the status quo. In the latter case the augmented rule becomes biased in favor of the minority. The main issue examined in this paper is whether the amelioration of majority decisiveness can be attained by unbiased voting rules that allow some restricted expression of preference intensities. Our results clarify that the use of scoring rules provides a positive answer to the above question when voters resort to variable degrees of coordinated strategic voting. The results are illustrated in the special cases of the plurality and the Borda rules.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)745-754
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2002


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