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The Trembling Chairman Paradox

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  • Alós-Ferrer, Carlos

Abstract

The Chairman Paradox (Farquharson, 1969) is a classical observation in voting games showing that a Chairman endowed with tie-breaking power might end up with her worst outcome. The analysis posits three players whose preferences build a Condorcet cycle and invokes Iterated Elimination of Weakly Dominated Strategies (IEWDS) to select a unique equilibrium. However, IEWDS is a controversial procedure which exhibits well-known weaknesses. This work relies on non-controversial equilibrium refinements instead. For any cardinal payoffs representing the preferences, two pure-strategy equilibria are trembling-hand perfect, the paradoxical one and another one where the Chairman attains her best outcome. The original paradox is restored (and shown not to actually depend on IEWDS) if one considers the stronger concept of proper equilibrium. The analysis casts new light on a classical paradox and illustrates the difference between properness and trembling-hand perfection in a relevant example.

Suggested Citation

  • Alós-Ferrer, Carlos, 2022. "The Trembling Chairman Paradox," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 51-56.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:gamebe:v:131:y:2022:i:c:p:51-56
    DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2021.11.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Chairman Paradox; Voting games; Trembling-hand perfection; Proper equilibria; Iterated dominance;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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