Sixty-Four Percent Majority Rule in Ducal Venice: Voting for the Doge
A recent result of A. Caplin and B. Nalebuff (1988) demonstrates that, under certain conditions on individual preferences and their distribution across society, super-majority rule performs well as a social decision rule. If the required super-majority is chosen appropriately, the rule yields a unique winner and voter cycles cannot occur. The voting procedure for electing a doge in medieval Venice, developed in 1268, employed a super-majority requirement agreeing with the Caplin and Nalebuff formula. The authors present a brief history of the Venetian political institutions, show how the rule was employed, and argue that it contributed to the remarkable centuries-long political stability of Venice. Copyright 1998 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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