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The Significance of the Probabilistic Voting Theorem

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  • Dan Usher

Abstract

For centuries, it has been recognized that democratic government is endangered by two unfortunate properties of majority-rule voting: the absence of an electoral equilibrium comparable to the general equilibrium in the economy, and the risk of expropriation of minorities by majorities. Much of democratic theory is devoted to the study of how these dangers can be averted. The probabilistic voting theorem has been alleged to show that these dangers are illusory. It is argued in this paper that, though the theorem is valid on its assumptions, these assumptions are considerably stronger and the theorem is less comforting about the stability of democratic government than one might at first suppose.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan Usher, 1994. "The Significance of the Probabilistic Voting Theorem," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 27(2), pages 433-445, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:cje:issued:v:27:y:1994:i:2:p:433-45
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    Cited by:

    1. BRETON, Albert & SALMON, Pierre, 2002. "Constitutional rules and competitive politics : their effects on secessionism," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 2002-06, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
    2. Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2000. "Probabilistic Voting and Equilibrium: An Impossibility Result," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 35-48, April.
    3. Dan Usher, 2010. "Three Papers on Bargaining," Working Papers 1239, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
    4. Dan Usher, 2012. "Bargaining and voting," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 739-755, June.
    5. Winer, Stanley L. & Hettich, Walter, 1998. "What Is Missed If We Leave Out Collective Choice in the Analysis of Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 373-89, June.
    6. Stanley L. Winer & Walter Hettich, 2002. "The Political Economy of Taxation: Positive and Normative Analysis when Collective Choice Matters," Carleton Economic Papers 02-11, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised 2004.
    7. George Warskett & Stanley Winer & Walter Hettich, 1998. "The Complexity of Tax Structure in Competitive Political Systems," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 5(2), pages 123-151, May.
    8. Winer, Stanley L. & Hettich, Walter, 1998. "What Is Missed if We Leave Out Collective Choice in the Analysis of Taxation," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 51(2), pages 373-389, June.

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