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Majority voting leads to unanimity


  • Geir Asheim


  • Carl Claussen


  • Tore Nilssen



We consider a situation where society decides, through majority voting in a secret ballot, between the alternatives of ‘reform’ and ‘status quo’. Reform is assumed to create a minority of winners, while being efficient in the Kaldor-Hicks sense. We explore the consequences of allowing binding transfers between voters conditional on the chosen alternative. In particular, we establish conditions under which the winners wish to compensate all losers, thus leading to unanimity for reform, rather than compensating some losers to form a non-maximal majority. The analysis employs concepts from cooperative game theory.
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Suggested Citation

  • Geir Asheim & Carl Claussen & Tore Nilssen, 2006. "Majority voting leads to unanimity," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 35(1), pages 91-110, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jogath:v:35:y:2006:i:1:p:91-110 DOI: 10.1007/s00182-006-0042-5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:83:y:1989:i:04:p:1181-1206_08 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Steven J. Brams & Peter C. Fishburn, 1996. "Minimal winning coalitions in weighted-majority voting games," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 13(4), pages 397-417.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:03:p:677-681_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Steven Brams & Michael Jones & D. Kilgour, 2005. "Forming stable coalitions: The process matters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 67-94, July.
    5. David P. Baron, 2001. "Theories of Strategic Nonmarket Participation: Majority-Rule and Executive Institutions," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 47-89, March.
    6. C. A. Claussen, 2002. "On the Dynamic Consistency of Reform and Compensation Schemes," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 133-144.
    7. Sanjay Jain & Sharun W. Mukand, 2003. "Redistributive Promises and the Adoption of Economic Reform," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 256-264, March.
    8. Mathias Dewatripont & Gérard Roland, 1996. "Transition as a process of large-scale institutional change," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, May.
    9. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:02:p:303-315_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Sebastian Edwards & Daniel Lederman, 1998. "The Political Economy of Unilateral Trade Liberalization: The Case of Chile," NBER Working Papers 6510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jain, Sanjay & Majumdar, Sumon & Mukand, Sharun W, 2014. "Walk the line: Conflict, state capacity and the political dynamics of reform," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 150-166.
    2. Corinna Ahlfeld, 2010. "Reputation Sells -Compensation Payments in the Political Sphere," Departmental Discussion Papers 145, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    3. Sanjay Jain, 2017. "Worker retraining and transfer payments: The political economy of social protection," WIDER Working Paper Series 044, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    4. Jain, Sanjay & Majumdar, Sumon, 2016. "State capacity, redistributive compensation and the political economy of economic policy reform," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 462-473.
    5. C. A. Claussen, 2002. "On the Dynamic Consistency of Reform and Compensation Schemes," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(3), pages 133-144.

    More about this item


    Majority voting; Core; Cooperative game theory; D72; C71;

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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