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Perverse committee appointments may foster divide and rule

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  • Seidmann, Daniel J.

Abstract

A plurality-rule spatial committee can select an extreme decision if a bare minority of members prefer the opposite extreme decision: the majority who prefer a moderate decision are immobilised by internal divisions. Consequently, a nominator may appoint candidates with the opposite preference ordering so as to build up the bare minority. Our results may explain why Disraeli extended the franchise to skilled male workers in 1867 against centrist opposition; and why an electorate whose preferences are not polarized may have to choose between extremist candidates.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 448-455

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:3-4:p:448-455

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2005. "Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1155-1192, August.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
  3. Roger Lagunoff & William Jack, 2004. "Dynamic Enfranchisement," Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings 24, Econometric Society.
  4. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  6. Segal, Ilya, 2003. "Coordination and discrimination in contracting with externalities: divide and conquer?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 147-181, December.
  7. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
  8. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2007. "Strong and coalition-proof political equilibria under plurality and runoff rule," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 287-314, January.
  10. Krehbiel, Kieth, 2006. "Supreme Court Appointments as a Move-the-Median Game," Research Papers 1942, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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Cited by:
  1. Francesco Giovannoni & Daniel J. Seidmann, 2008. "Corruption and Power in Democracies," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 08/192, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  2. Ghosal, Sayantan & Proto, Eugenio, 2009. "Democracy, collective action and intra-elite conflict," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1078-1089, October.
  3. George Tridimas, 2011. "A political economy perspective of direct democracy in ancient Athens," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 58-82, March.

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