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An Empirical Example of the Condorcet Paradox of Voting in a Large Electorate

  • Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter

Social choice theory suggests that the occurrence of cyclical collective preferences should be a widespread phenomenon, especially in large groups of decision-makers. However, empirical research has so far failed to produce evidence of the existence of many real-world examples of such, and none in large electorates. This paper demonstrates the existence of a real cyclical majority in a poll of Danish voters' preferred prime minister, using pair-wise comparisons. This result is compared with those of a similar poll, but by using different voting methods, each resulting in different choices. The example demonstrates the empirical reality of cyclical collective preferences and the importance of the choice of institutions. Copyright 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

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Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 107 (2001)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (April)
Pages: 135-45

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:107:y:2001:i:1-2:p:135-45
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  1. Gehrlein, William V. & Fishburn, Peter C., 1976. "The probability of the paradox of voting: A computable solution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 14-25, August.
  2. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
  3. van Deemen, Adrian M A & Vergunst, Noel P, 1998. " Empirical Evidence of Paradoxes of Voting in Dutch Elections," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(3), pages 475-90, December.
  4. Gordon Tullock, 1981. "Why so much stability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(2), pages 189-204, January.
  5. DeMeyer, Frank & Plott, Charles R, 1970. "The Probability of a Cyclical Majority," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(2), pages 345-54, March.
  6. Plott, Charles R., . "Axiomatic Social Choice Theory: An Overview and Interpretation," Working Papers 116, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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