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A critique of distributional analysis in the spatial model

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  • Tovey, Craig A.

Abstract

Distributional analysis is widely used to study social choice in Euclidean models ([35], [36], [1], [5], [11], [19], [7] and [4], e.g). This method assumes a continuum of voters distributed according to a probability measure. Since infinite populations do not exist, the goal of distributional analysis is to give an insight into the behavior of large finite populations. However, the properties of finite populations do not necessarily converge to the properties of infinite populations. Thus the method of distributional analysis is flawed. In some cases (Arrow, 1969) it will predict that a point is in the core with probability 1, while the true probability converges to 0. In other cases it can be combined with probabilistic analysis to make accurate predictions about the asymptotic behavior of large populations, as in Caplin and Nalebuff (1988). Uniform convergence of empirical measures (Pollard, 1984) is employed here to yield a simpler, more general proof of [alpha]-majority convergence, a short proof of yolk shrinkage, and suggests a rule of thumb to determine the accuracy of distribution-based predictions. The results also help clarify the mathematical underpinnings of statistical analysis of empirical voting data.

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  • Tovey, Craig A., 2010. "A critique of distributional analysis in the spatial model," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 88-101, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:matsoc:v:59:y:2010:i:1:p:88-101
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    Cited by:

    1. Sadiraj, Vjollca & Tuinstra, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 2010. "Identification of voters with interest groups improves the electoral chances of the challenger," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 210-216, November.
    2. Tovey, Craig A., 2010. "The instability of instability of centered distributions," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 53-73, January.
    3. McKelvey, Richard & Tovey, Craig A., 2010. "Approximation of the yolk by the LP yolk," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 102-109, January.
    4. Tovey, Craig A., 2010. "The almost surely shrinking yolk," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 74-87, January.
    5. Mathieu Martin & Zéphirin Nganmeni & Craig A. Tovey, 2019. "Dominance in Spatial Voting with Imprecise Ideals: A New Characterization of the Yolk," THEMA Working Papers 2019-02, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
    6. repec:eee:matsoc:v:90:y:2017:i:c:p:145-149 is not listed on IDEAS

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