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The Paradox of Voting and Congressional Rules for Voting on Amendments


  • Riker, William H.


Writers on parliamentary law frequently begin their essays by citing with approval Hatsell's famous observation that “… it is more material that there should be a rule to go by than what that rule is ….†So generally is this notion accepted that it probably ought to be regarded as a fundamental premise of parliamentary law. Indeed the whole structure of this branch of law rests on the assumption that form is more important than content. Its literature consists almost entirely of the compilation of precedents, and, furthermore, parliamentarians have seldom been concerned to justify the decisions they compile. This indifference to rationalization clearly follows from Hatsell's premise: if one believes that form alone is important, one appropriately concentrates on the form of rules, largely ignoring questions of whether or not their substance is efficient, or fair, or reasonable.

Suggested Citation

  • Riker, William H., 1958. "The Paradox of Voting and Congressional Rules for Voting on Amendments," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 52(2), pages 349-366, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:52:y:1958:i:02:p:349-366_07

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    Cited by:

    1. Mostapha Diss & Eric Kamwa, 2019. "Simulations in Models of Preference Aggregation," Working Papers hal-02424936, HAL.
    2. William Gehrlein, 2002. "Condorcet's paradox and the likelihood of its occurrence: different perspectives on balanced preferences ," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 52(2), pages 171-199, March.
    3. Matthew Harrison-Trainor, 2020. "An Analysis of Random Elections with Large Numbers of Voters," Papers 2009.02979,
    4. Maksim Gladyshev, 2019. "Vulnerability Of Voting Paradoxes As A Criteria For Voting Procedure Selection," HSE Working papers WP BRP 70/PS/2019, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    5. Morris Fiorina, 1982. "Legislative choice of regulatory forms: Legal process or administrative process?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 33-66, January.
    6. Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter, 2001. "An Empirical Example of the Condorcet Paradox of Voting in a Large Electorate," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 107(1-2), pages 135-145, April.
    7. Maxwell Stearns, 2015. "Constitutional law in social choice perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 163(1), pages 167-186, April.
    8. Adrian Deemen, 2014. "On the empirical relevance of Condorcet’s paradox," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 311-330, March.
    9. Richard Niemi, 1970. "The occurrence of the paradox of voting in University elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 91-100, March.
    10. Apesteguia, Jose & Ballester, Miguel A. & Masatlioglu, Yusufcan, 2014. "A foundation for strategic agenda voting," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 91-99.
    11. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2014. "Empirical social choice: an introduction," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 297-310, March.
    12. Thomas Schwartz, 2008. "Parliamentary procedure: principal forms and political effects," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 353-377, September.
    13. Roger Marz & Thomas Casstevens & Harold Casstevens, 1973. "The hunting of the paradox," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 97-102, June.
    14. Michel Regenwetter & James Adams & Bernard Grofman, 2002. "On the (Sample) Condorcet Efficiency of Majority Rule: An alternative view of majority cycles and social homogeneity," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 153-186, September.

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