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The Probability of Being Decisive

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  • Fischer, A J
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    Abstract

    The probability of a voter being decisive (P[subscript D]), that is, of one vote affecting the outcome of an election, has generally been incorrectly calculated for the last twenty or more years. The method normally used is due to Banzhaf (1968) and generalised by Beck (1974). It assumes that voters know in advance how many people will vote for each candidate, which is clearly not the case. The correct formulation was given by Good and Mayer in 1975, but was ignored and has subsequently been all but forgotten since then. A simple explanation of these methods is given. Using the incorrect method, errors of magnitude of more than 10[superscript 100] in calculating P[subscript D] correctly can be made. The appropriateness of using a decision-theoretic formulation instead of a game-theoretic one is also discussed. Copyright 1999 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

    Volume (Year): 101 (1999)
    Issue (Month): 3-4 (December)
    Pages: 267-83

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:101:y:1999:i:3-4:p:267-83

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    Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

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    Cited by:
    1. René Brink & Frank Steffen, 2012. "Axiomatizations of a positional power score and measure for hierarchies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 757-787, June.
    2. Ozgur Evren, 2009. "Altruism, Turnout and Strategic Voting Behavior," Levine's Working Paper Archive 814577000000000309, David K. Levine.
    3. Özgür Evren, 2012. "Altruism and Voting: A Large-Turnout Result That Does not Rely on Civic Duty or Cooperative Behavior," Working Papers w0173, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    4. Krishnakumar, Jaya & Müller, Tobias, 2012. "The political economy of immigration in a direct democracy: The case of Switzerland," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 174-189.
    5. Mulligan, Casey B & Hunter, Charles G, 2003. " The Empirical Frequency of a Pivotal Vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(1-2), pages 31-54, July.
    6. Timo Goeschl, 2005. "Non-binding linked-issues referenda: Analysis and an application," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(3), pages 249-266, September.
    7. Frank Daumann & Alfred Wassermann, 2009. "Does trading votes in national elections change election outcomes?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 429-441, June.

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