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Enlargement and the balance of power: an experimental study

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  • Maria Montero

    ()

  • Martin Sefton
  • Ping Zhang

Abstract

Many important decisions are taken according to weighted majority rule. Power indices predict that enlargement of the voting body may affect the balance of power between the original members even if their number of votes and the decision rule remain constant. Some of the existing voters may actually gain, a phenomenon known as the paradox of new members. We test for this effect using laboratory experiments. Participants propose and vote on how to divide a budget according to weighted majority voting rules, and we measure the voting power of a player by his average payoff in the experiment. By comparing voting power across voting bodies of varying size, we find empirical support for the paradox of new members. Our results also allow an assessment of the predictive performance of standard power indices.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Choice and Welfare.

Volume (Year): 30 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 69-87

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Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:30:y:2008:i:1:p:69-87

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Miller , Luis & Vanberg, Christoph, 2014. "Group size and decision rules in legislative bargaining," Working Papers 0558, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
  2. Bosman, R. & Maier, P. & Sadiraj, V. & van Winden, F., 2013. "Let me vote! An experimental study of vote rotation in committees," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 32-47.
  3. Michalis Drouvelis & Maria Montero & Martin Sefton, 2007. "The Paradox of New Members: Strategic Foundations and Experimental Evidence," Discussion Papers 2007-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  4. Drouvelis, Michalis & Montero, Maria & Sefton, Martin, 2010. "Gaining power through enlargement: Strategic foundations and experimental evidence," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 274-292, July.
  5. Guido Bünstorf & Christoph Engel & Sven Fischer & Werner Güth, 2013. "Win Shift Lose Stay - An Experimental Test of Non-Compete Clauses," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_17, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  6. Eric Guerci & Nobuyuki Hanaki & Naoki Watanabe & Gabriele Esposito & Xiaoyan Lu, 2011. "A Note on a Weighted Voting Experiment: Human Mistakes in Cooperative Games," Working Papers halshs-00645867, HAL.
  7. Maria Montero, 2007. "The Paradox of New Members in the Council of Ministers: A Noncooperative Approach," Discussion Papers 2007-12, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  8. Sascha Kurz & Nicola Maaser & Stefan Napel & and Matthias Weber, 2014. "Mostly Sunny: A Forecast of Tomorrow's Power Index Research," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-058/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Christoph Engel, 2013. "Deterrence by Imperfect Sanctions – A Public Good Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_09, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods.
  10. Breitmoser, Yves & Tan, Jonathan H.W., 2011. "Ultimata bargaining: generosity without social motives," MPRA Paper 33613, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Christoph Engel & Marco Kleine, 2013. "Who is Afraid of Pirates? An Experiment on the Deterrence of Innovation by Imitation," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_07, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Nov 2013.
  12. Matthias Weber, 2014. "Choosing Voting Systems behind the Veil of Ignorance: A Two-Tier Voting Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 14-042/I, Tinbergen Institute.
  13. Christoph Engel & Lilia Zhurakhovska, 2013. "Words Substitute Fists – Justifying Punishment in a Public Good Experiment," Working Paper Series of the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods 2013_16, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, revised Jan 2014.

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