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Super Majoritarianism and the Endowment Effect

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  • Uriel Procaccia

    ()

  • Uzi Segal

    ()

Abstract

The American and some other constitutions entrench property rights by requiring super majoritarian voting as a condition for amending or revoking their own provisions. Following Buchanan and Tullock [5], this paper analyzes individuals' interests behind a veil of ignorance, and shows that under some standard assumptions, a (simple) majoritarian rule should be adopted. This result changes if one assumes that preferences are consistent with the behavioral phenomenon known as the "endowment effect." It then follows that (at least some) property rights are best defended by super majoritarian protection. The paper then shows that its theoretical results are consistent with a number of doctrines underlying American Constitutional Law.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The Center for the Study of Rationality, Hebrew University, Jerusalem in its series Discussion Paper Series with number dp277.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2002
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Theory and Decision, 2003, vol. 55, pp. 181-207.
Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp277

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  1. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434.
  2. Goldsmith, Raymond W., 1985. "Comparative National Balance Sheets," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226301532, June.
  3. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
  4. Knetsch, Jack L & Sinden, J A, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-21, August.
  5. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
  6. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  7. Bateman, Ian J, et al, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505, May.
  8. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Attanasi, Giuseppe & Corazzini, Luca & Georgantzis, Nikolaos & Passarelli, Francesco, 2010. "Risk Aversion, Over-Confidence and Private Information as Determinants of Majority Thresholds," TSE Working Papers 09-088, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE).

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