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On the justice of voting systems

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  • Jose Apesteguia

    ()

  • Miguel A. Ballester
  • Rosa Ferrer

Abstract

What are the best voting systems in terms of utilitarianism? Or in terms of maximin, or maximax? We study these questions for the case of three alternatives and a class of structurally equivalent voting rules. We show that plurality, arguably the most widely used voting system, performs very poorly in terms of remarkable ideals of justice, such as utilitarianism or maximin, and yet is optimal in terms of maximax. Utilitarianism is best approached by a voting system converging to the Borda count, while the best way to achieve maximin is by means of a voting system converging to negative voting. We study the robustness of our results across different social cultures, measures of performance, and population sizes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 987.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:987

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

Related research

Keywords: Voting; Scoring Rules; Utilitarianism; Maximin; Maximax; Impartial Culture Condition;

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  1. Tilman Börgers & Peter Postl, 2008. "Efficient Compromising," Discussion Papers 06-11R, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
  2. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2003. "Self Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," NBER Working Papers 10102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. B�rd Harstad, 2005. "Majority Rules and Incentives," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1535-1568, November.
  4. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Salvador Barberà & Matthew O. Jackson, 2000. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," Working Papers 57, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  7. Roger B. Myerson, 2000. "Comparison of Scoring Rules in Poisson Voting Games," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0686, Econometric Society.
  8. Caplin, Andrew S & Nalebuff, Barry J, 1988. "On 64%-Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 787-814, July.
  9. DeMeyer, Frank & Plott, Charles R, 1970. "The Probability of a Cyclical Majority," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(2), pages 345-54, March.
  10. Jonathan Levin & Barry Nalebuff, 1995. "An Introduction to Vote-Counting Schemes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 3-26, Winter.
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