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A simple characterization of majority rule


  • Jerry S. Kelly

    (Department of Economics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244-1090, USA)

  • Donald E. Campbell

    () (Department of Economics and The Program in Public Policy, The College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, USA)


Assuming an odd number of voters, E. S. Maskin recently provided a characterization of majority rule based on full transitivity. This paper characterizes majority rule with a set of axioms that includes two of Maskin's, dispenses with another, and contains weak versions of his other two axioms. It allows the number of voters to be odd or even.

Suggested Citation

  • Jerry S. Kelly & Donald E. Campbell, 2000. "A simple characterization of majority rule," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 15(3), pages 689-700.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:joecth:v:15:y:2000:i:3:p:689-700 Note: Received: December 23, 1998; revised version: May 10, 1999

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Susumu Cato, 2011. "Pareto principles, positive responsiveness, and majority decisions," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 71(4), pages 503-518, October.
    2. Merrill, Lauren Nicole, 2011. "Parity dependence of a majority rule characterization on the Condorcet domain," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(3), pages 259-261, September.
    3. Dimitrios Xefteris, 2013. "A necessary and sufficient single-profile condition for transitivity of the Pareto extension order," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 9(4), pages 313-317, December.
    4. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00865 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Miroiu, Adrian, 2004. "Characterizing majority rule: from profiles to societies," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 359-363, December.
    6. Yi, Jianxin, 2005. "A complete characterization of majority rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 109-112, April.
    7. Woeginger, Gerhard J., 2005. "More on the majority rule: Profiles, societies, and responsiveness," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 7-11, July.
    8. Antonio Quesada, 2013. "The majority rule with a chairman," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 40(3), pages 679-691, March.
    9. J. Woeginger, Gerhard, 2003. "A new characterization of the majority rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 89-94, October.
    10. Matías Núñez & Giacomo Valletta, 2015. "The informational basis of scoring rules," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 19(4), pages 279-297, December.
    11. Campbell, Donald E. & Kelly, Jerry S., 2011. "Majority selection of one alternative from a binary agenda," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 110(3), pages 272-273, March.
    12. repec:spr:grdene:v:19:y:2010:i:6:d:10.1007_s10726-009-9156-z is not listed on IDEAS
    13. McMorris, F.R. & Powers, R.C., 2013. "Majority decision on median semilattices," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 48-51.
    14. Remzi Sanver, M., 2006. "Nash implementation of the majority rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(3), pages 369-372, June.
    15. Asan, Goksel & Sanver, M. Remzi, 2006. "Maskin monotonic aggregation rules," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 179-183, May.
    16. Núñez Matias & Valleta Giacomo, 2012. "The information simplicity of scoring rules," Research Memorandum 011, Maastricht University, Maastricht Research School of Economics of Technology and Organization (METEOR).
    17. Marchant, Thierry, 2007. "An axiomatic characterization of different majority concepts," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 179(1), pages 160-173, May.
    18. Campbell, Donald E. & Kelly, Jerry S., 2013. "Anonymity, monotonicity, and limited neutrality: Selecting a single alternative from a binary agenda," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(1), pages 10-12.
    19. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2010. "The necessary and sufficient condition for the transitivity of the Majority Rule in the linear domain," MPRA Paper 24588, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Eyal Baharad & Shmuel Nitzan, 2016. "Is majority consistency possible?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 46(2), pages 287-299, February.
    21. Ju, Biung-Ghi, 2011. "Collectively rational voting rules for simple preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 143-149, March.
    22. Asan, Goksel & Sanver, M. Remzi, 2002. "Another characterization of the majority rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(3), pages 409-413, May.
    23. Xu, Yongsheng & Zhong, Zhen, 2010. "Single profile of preferences with variable societies: A characterization of simple majority rule," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 119-121, May.
    24. Xefteris, Dimitrios, 2012. "A necessary and sufficient single-profile condition for transitivity of the majority rule relation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 516-518.
    25. Llamazares, Bonifacio, 2006. "The forgotten decision rules: Majority rules based on difference of votes," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 311-326, May.

    More about this item


    IIA; Majority; Pareto; Single-peaked; Transitivity.;

    JEL classification:

    • D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions


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