TY - JOUR

T1 - The costs of implementing the majority principle

T2 - The golden voting rule

AU - Baharad, Eyal

AU - Nitzan, Shmuel

PY - 2007/4

Y1 - 2007/4

N2 - In a context of constitutional choice of a voting rule, this paper presents an economic analysis of scoring rules that identifies the golden voting rule under the impartial culture assumption. This golden rule depends on the weights β and (1-β) assigned to two types of costs: the cost of majority decisiveness ('tyranny') and the cost of the 'erosion' in the majority principle. Our first main result establishes that in voting contexts where the number of voters n is typically considerably larger than the number of candidates k, the golden voting rule is the inverse plurality rule for almost any positive β. Irrespective of n and k, the golden voting rule is the inverse plurality rule if β 1/2. This hitherto almost unnoticed rule outperforms any other scoring rule in eliminating majority decisiveness. The golden voting rule is, however, the plurality rule, the most widely used voting rule that does not allow even the slightest 'erosion' in the majority principle, when β=0. Our second main result establishes that for sufficiently "small size" voting bodies, the set of potential golden rules consists at most of just three rules: the plurality rule, the Borda rule and the inverse plurality rule. On the one hand, this finding provides a new rationalization to the central role the former two rules play in practice and in the voting theory literature. On the other hand, it provides further support to the inverse plurality rule; not only that it is the golden rule in voting contexts, it also belongs, together with the plurality rule and the Borda method of counts, to the "exclusive" set of potential golden voting rules in small committees.

AB - In a context of constitutional choice of a voting rule, this paper presents an economic analysis of scoring rules that identifies the golden voting rule under the impartial culture assumption. This golden rule depends on the weights β and (1-β) assigned to two types of costs: the cost of majority decisiveness ('tyranny') and the cost of the 'erosion' in the majority principle. Our first main result establishes that in voting contexts where the number of voters n is typically considerably larger than the number of candidates k, the golden voting rule is the inverse plurality rule for almost any positive β. Irrespective of n and k, the golden voting rule is the inverse plurality rule if β 1/2. This hitherto almost unnoticed rule outperforms any other scoring rule in eliminating majority decisiveness. The golden voting rule is, however, the plurality rule, the most widely used voting rule that does not allow even the slightest 'erosion' in the majority principle, when β=0. Our second main result establishes that for sufficiently "small size" voting bodies, the set of potential golden rules consists at most of just three rules: the plurality rule, the Borda rule and the inverse plurality rule. On the one hand, this finding provides a new rationalization to the central role the former two rules play in practice and in the voting theory literature. On the other hand, it provides further support to the inverse plurality rule; not only that it is the golden rule in voting contexts, it also belongs, together with the plurality rule and the Borda method of counts, to the "exclusive" set of potential golden voting rules in small committees.

KW - Majority decisiveness

KW - Majority principle

KW - Scoring rules

KW - The golden voting rule

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33846548137&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00199-006-0083-9

DO - 10.1007/s00199-006-0083-9

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AN - SCOPUS:33846548137

SN - 0938-2259

VL - 31

SP - 69

EP - 84

JO - Economic Theory

JF - Economic Theory

IS - 1

ER -