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Strategic Voting and Coalitions: Condorcet's Paradox and Ben-Gurion's Tri-lemma


  • James Stodder

    () (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Hartford)


The Condorcet paradox is a classic example of the power of agenda setting how it can determine the political outcome. A classroom voting game shows how alliances between voting blocs can determine an agenda. Agreements on how to vote after the agenda is set will be broken, however, if the partners are strictly self-interested. That is, no alliance is sub-game perfect. Informal classroom experiments suggest that alliances are more likely when successive opportunities for betrayal fall to both sides, rather than to one side only. These points are illustrated with a three-cornered dilemma posed by Ben-Gurion, one that 'sharpens' the Condorcet paradox by making the third alternative always impossible.

Suggested Citation

  • James Stodder, 2005. "Strategic Voting and Coalitions: Condorcet's Paradox and Ben-Gurion's Tri-lemma," International Review of Economic Education, Economics Network, University of Bristol, vol. 4(2), pages 58-72.
  • Handle: RePEc:che:ireepp:v:4:y:2005:i:2:p:58-72

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