On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union
AbstractConsider a voting procedure where countries, states, or districts comprising a union each elect representatives who then participate in later votes at the union level on their behalf. The countries, provinces, and states may vary in their populations and composition. If we wish to maximize the total expected utility of all agents in the union, how to weight the votes of the representatives of the different countries, states or districts at the union level? We provide a simple characterization of the efficient voting rule in terms of the weights assigned to different districts and the voting threshold (how large a qualified majority is needed to induce change versus the status quo). Next, in the context of a model of the correlation structure of agents preferences, we analyze how voting weights relate to the population size of a country. We then analyze the voting weights in Council of the European Union under the Nice Treaty and the recently proposed constitution, and contrast them under different versions of our model, and compare them to the weights derived from poll data.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei in its series Working Papers with number 2004.76.
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Majority rule; Voting; Weighted voting; European Union;
Other versions of this item:
- Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2006. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 317-339, April.
- Salvador Barberà & Matthew O. Jackson, 2003. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Working Papers 220, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Barbera, Salvador & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union," Working Papers 1196, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Salvador BARBER?Author-Email: firstname.lastname@example.org & Matthew O. JACKSON, 2003. "On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogenous Union," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 597.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
- D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-07-18 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2004-07-18 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2004-07-18 (Positive Political Economics)
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