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Qualitative Voting

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  • Rafael Hortala-Vallve

Abstract

Can we devise mechanisms that allow voters to express the intensity of their preferences when monetary transfers are forbidden? Would we then be able to take account of how much voters wish the approval or dismissal of any particular issue? In such cases, would some minorities be able to decide over those issues they feel very strongly about? As opposed to the classical voting system (one person - one decision - one vote), we propose a new voting system where each agent is endowed with a fixed number of votes that can be distributed freely between a predetermined number of issues that must be approved or dismissed. Its novelty relies on allowing voters to express the intensity of their preferences in a simple manner. This voting system is optimal in a well-defined sense: in a setting with two voters, two issues and preference intensities uniformly and independently distributed across possible values, Qualitative Voting Pareto dominates Majority Rule and, moreover, achieves the only ex-ante optimal (incentive compatible) allocation. The result also holds true with three voters as long as the voters preferences towards the issue differ sufficiently.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 320.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:320

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Keywords: Voting; Intensity Problem; Alternatives to Majority Rule; Conflict Resolution;

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