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The Borda count and agenda manipulation

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  • Michael Dummett

    (New College Oxford University, England)

Abstract

A standard objection to the Borda count, as an actual voting procedure, is that it is subject to agenda manipulation. The classical example is the introduction, in order to favour a candidate or option y, of a new option z ranked on every voter's preference scale immediately below y; y may as a result obtain the highest Borda count, although, if z had not been introduced, a different option would have done so. Strategic use of this device is not greatly to be feared, but it does point to a defect in the system: equating the distance on each voter's preference scale between any option and the next imposes a penalty for dissimilarity. The corrective is to vary the distances by introducing a measure of dissimilarity, as perceived by the voters and revealed by their preference scales. Two possible ways of doing this are described, yielding revised and adjusted Borda scores. It is shown by examples that these will often, but not always, undo the `agenda manipulation' effect, and questioned whether it is desirable to undo it altogether.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Dummett, 1998. "The Borda count and agenda manipulation," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 15(2), pages 289-296.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:15:y:1998:i:2:p:289-296 Note: Received: 22 August 1996/Accepted: 31 October 1996
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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Vorsatz, 2008. "Scoring rules on dichotomous preferences," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(1), pages 151-162, June.
    2. Rudolf Fara & Maurice Salles, 2006. "An Interview with Michael Dummett: from Analytical Philosophy to Voting Analysis and Beyond," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 27(2), pages 347-364, October.
    3. Grofman, Bernard & Feld, Scott L. & Fraenkel, Jon, 2017. "Finding the Threshold of Exclusion for all single seat and multi-seat scoring rules: Illustrated by results for the Borda and Dowdall rules," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 52-56.
    4. repec:eee:jomega:v:70:y:2017:i:c:p:135-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Islam, Jamal & Mohajan, Haradhan & Moolio, Pahlaj, 2011. "Borda voting is non-manipulable but cloning manipulation is possible," MPRA Paper 50848, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 10 Jan 2012.
    6. Mathias Risse, 2005. "Why the count de Borda cannot beat the Marquis de Condorcet," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 25(1), pages 95-113, October.
    7. Aki Lehtinen, 2007. "The Borda rule is also intended for dishonest men," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 73-90, October.
    8. Nutting Andrew W., 2011. "And After That, Who Knows?: Detailing the Marginal Accuracy of Weekly College Football Polls," Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, De Gruyter, vol. 7(3), pages 1-17, July.
    9. Eivind Stensholt, 2010. "Voces populi and the art of listening," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 35(2), pages 291-317, July.
    10. Islam, Jamal & Mohajan, Haradhan & Moolio, Pahlaj, 2010. "Methods of voting system and manipulation of voting," MPRA Paper 50854, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 May 2010.

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