IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Majority voting with stochastic preferences: The whims of a committee are smaller than the whims of its members


  • Pierre-Guillaume Méon



This note studies the volatility of the policy chosen by a committee whose members’ preferences are volatile, due to common and individual preferences shocks. It is shown that majority voting mitigates the latter but not the former. The volatility of the policy is smaller the smaller the volatility of members’ preferences, smaller the larger the size of the committee, and smaller than if it was chosen by a single member. The results hold in a context of uncertainty and with multidimensional issues. Copyright Economic Science Association 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-Guillaume Méon, 2006. "Majority voting with stochastic preferences: The whims of a committee are smaller than the whims of its members," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 207-216, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:17:y:2006:i:3:p:207-216 DOI: 10.1007/s10602-006-9002-0

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Greenberg, Joseph, 1979. "Consistent Majority Rules over Compact Sets of Alternatives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(3), pages 627-636, May.
    2. Matsen, Egil & Roisland, Oistein, 2005. "Interest rate decisions in an asymmetric monetary union," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 365-384, June.
    3. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23, January.
    4. McKelvey, Richard D. & Schofield, Norman, 1986. "Structural instability of the core," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 179-198, June.
    5. Banks, Jeffrey S., 1995. "Singularity theory and core existence in the spatial model," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 523-536.
    6. Schofield, Norman, 2002. "Representative democracy as social choice," Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare,in: K. J. Arrow & A. K. Sen & K. Suzumura (ed.), Handbook of Social Choice and Welfare, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 425-455 Elsevier.
    7. Sapir, Andre & Sekkat, Khalid, 1999. "Optimum electoral areas: Should Europe adopt a single election day?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1595-1619, August.
    8. Caplin, Andrew S & Nalebuff, Barry J, 1988. "On 64%-Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(4), pages 787-814, July.
    9. Norman Schofield, 1978. "Instability of Simple Dynamic Games," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 45(3), pages 575-594.
    10. Schofield, Norman, 1977. "Transitivity of preferences on a smooth manifold of alternatives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 149-171, February.
    11. McKelvey, Richard D, 1979. "General Conditions for Global Intransitivities in Formal Voting Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1085-1112, September.
    12. McKelvey, Richard D. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1985. "Elections with limited information: A fulfilled expectations model using contemporaneous poll and endorsement data as information sources," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 55-85, June.
    13. Schofield, N. & Tovey, C.A., 1992. "Probability and Convergence for Supramajority rule with Euclidean Preferences," Papers 163, Washington St. Louis - School of Business and Political Economy.
    14. McKelvey, Richard D., 1976. "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 472-482, June.
    15. Davis, Otto A & DeGroot, Morris H & Hinich, Melvin J, 1972. "Social Preference Orderings and Majority Rule," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(1), pages 147-157, January.
    16. Slutsky, Steven, 1977. "A voting model for the allocation of public goods: Existence of an equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 299-325, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Bernal, Oscar & Oosterlinck, Kim & Szafarz, Ariane, 2010. "Observing bailout expectations during a total eclipse of the sun," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(7), pages 1193-1205, November.
    2. Farvaque, Etienne & Matsueda, Norimichi & Méon, Pierre-Guillaume, 2009. "How monetary policy committees impact the volatility of policy rates," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 534-546, December.
    3. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker & Lybek, Tonny, 2008. "Central bank boards around the world: Why does membership size differ?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 817-832, December.
    4. Charles Plaigin, 2009. "Exploratory study on the presence of cultural and institutional growth spillovers," DULBEA Working Papers 09-03.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    5. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Ariane Szafarz, 2008. "Labor market discrimination as an agency cost," DULBEA Working Papers 08-19.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

    More about this item


    Committee; Majority voting; Uncertainty; Volatility; D71;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:17:y:2006:i:3:p:207-216. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.