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Perverse committee appointments may foster divide and rule

  • Seidmann, Daniel J.

A plurality-rule spatial committee can select an extreme decision if a bare minority of members prefer the opposite extreme decision: the majority who prefer a moderate decision are immobilised by internal divisions. Consequently, a nominator may appoint candidates with the opposite preference ordering so as to build up the bare minority. Our results may explain why Disraeli extended the franchise to skilled male workers in 1867 against centrist opposition; and why an electorate whose preferences are not polarized may have to choose between extremist candidates.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V76-4P8GWV6-1/1/9bcb0786343735ed77571cca243044ff
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 92 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3-4 (April)
Pages: 448-455

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:3-4:p:448-455
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Humberto Llavador & Robert J. Oxoby, 2005. "Partisan Competition, Growth, and the Franchise," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1155-1192, August.
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  4. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
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  6. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
  7. Matthias Messner & Mattias Polborn, 2007. "Strong and coalition-proof political equilibria under plurality and runoff rule," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 287-314, January.
  8. Segal, Ilya, 2003. "Coordination and discrimination in contracting with externalities: divide and conquer?," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 113(2), pages 147-181, December.
  9. Bernheim, B. Douglas & Peleg, Bezalel & Whinston, Michael D., 1987. "Coalition-Proof Nash Equilibria I. Concepts," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-12, June.
  10. Justman, Moshe & Gradstein, Mark, 1999. "The Industrial Revolution, Political Transition, and the Subsequent Decline in Inequality in 19th-Century Britain," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 109-127, April.
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