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An axiomatic theory of political representation

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  • Chambers, Christopher P.

Abstract

We discuss the theory of gerrymandering-proof voting rules. Our approach is axiomatic. We show that, for votes over a binary set of alternatives, any rule that is unanimous, anonymous, and gerrymandering-proof must decide a social outcome as a function of the proportions of agents voting for each alternative, and must either be independent of this proportion, or be in one-to-one correspondence with the proportions. In an extended model in which the outcome of a vote at the district level can be a composition of a governing body (with two possible parties), we discuss the quasi-proportional rules (characterized by unanimity, anonymity, gerrymandering-proofness, strict monotonicity, and continuity). We show that we can always (pointwise) approximate a single-member district quota rule with a quasi-proportional rule. We also discuss a more general environment, where there may be more than two parties.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Theory.

Volume (Year): 144 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 375-389

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jetheo:v:144:y:2009:i:1:p:375-389

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622869

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Keywords: Gerrymandering Representative systems Proportional representation Social choice Quasi-arithmetic means;

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  1. McLennan, Andrew, 1980. "Randomized preference aggregation: Additivity of power and strategy proofness," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 1-11, February.
  2. Bandyopadhyay, Taradas & Deb, Rajat & Pattanaik, Prasanta K., 1982. "The structure of coalitional power under probabilistic group decision rules," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 366-375, August.
  3. Chambers, Christopher P., 2005. "Consistent Representative Democracy," Working Papers 1217, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  4. Fine, Kit, 1972. "Some Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Representative Decision on Two Alternatives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1083-90, November.
  5. Pattanaik, Prasanta K & Peleg, Bezalel, 1986. "Distribution of Power under Stochastic Social Choice Rules," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 909-21, July.
  6. Fishburn, Peter C, 1971. "The Theory of Representative Majority Decision," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 39(2), pages 273-84, March.
  7. Barbera, Salvador & Sonnenschein, Hugo, 1978. "Preference aggregation with randomized social orderings," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 244-254, August.
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