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How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: Evidence from a pivotal voter model

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  • Aguiar-Conraria, Luís
  • Magalhães, Pedro C.

Abstract

In many jurisdictions, whether referendum results are binding depends on legally defined quorum requirements. We use a pivotal voter model to examine the consequences of such requirements. We find that, although quorum rules differ in consequences, a status quo bias that is usually attributed need not be present and that quorum rules may work against the status quo. The rules can also both favor minorities and reduce voter turnout. Because quorum rules can create situations in which the secrecy of the vote is compromised, the door is opened to undemocratic forms of social and political pressure.

Suggested Citation

  • Aguiar-Conraria, Luís & Magalhães, Pedro C., 2010. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: Evidence from a pivotal voter model," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 541-557, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:26:y:2010:i:4:p:541-557
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Yoichi Hizen, 2015. "A referendum experiment with participation quorums," Working Papers SDES-2015-6, Kochi University of Technology, School of Economics and Management, revised Jan 2015.
    2. Luís Francisco Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães & Christoph A. Vanberg, 2013. "Experimental evidence that quorum rules discourage turnout and promote election boycotts," NIPE Working Papers 14/2013, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
    3. François Maniquet & Massimo Morelli, 2015. "Approval quorums dominate participation quorums," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(1), pages 1-27, June.
    4. Grüner, Hans Peter & Tröger, Thomas, 2018. "Linear voting rules," Working Papers 18-01, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    5. Patricia Charléty & Marie-Cécile Fagart & Saïd Souam, 2017. "Quorum Rules and Shareholder Power," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-35, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    6. repec:spr:soinre:v:133:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1408-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Marc Pauly, 2013. "Characterizing referenda with quorums via strategy-proofness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(4), pages 581-597, October.
    8. Jac C. Heckelman, 2016. "A note on majority rule and neutrality with an application to state votes at the Constitutional Convention of 1787," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 245-255, June.
    9. Yoichi Hizen & Masafumi Shinmyo, 2011. "Imposing a turnout threshold in referendums," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 491-503, September.
    10. Sabine Flamand & Orestis Troumpounis, 2014. "Participation quorums in costly meetings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 53-62, April.
    11. Yoichi Hizen, 2015. "Does a Least-Preferred Candidate Win a Seat? A Comparison of Three Electoral Systems," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
    12. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães & Christoph A. Vanberg, 2016. "Experimental evidence that quorum rules discourage turnout and promote election boycotts," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 886-909, December.
    13. Grüner, Hans Peter & Tröger, Thomas, 2016. "Optimal voting mechanisms with costly participation and abstention," CEPR Discussion Papers 11127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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