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Rationalizable voting


  • Kalandrakis, Tasos

    () (Department of Political Science, University of Rochester)


When is a finite number of binary voting choices consistent with the hypothesis that the voter has preferences that admit a (quasi)concave utility representation? I derive necessary and sufficient conditions and a tractable algorithm to verify their validity. I show that the hypothesis that the voter has preferences represented by a concave utility function is observationally equivalent to the hypothesis that she has preferences represented by a quasiconcave utility function, I obtain testable restrictions on the location of voter ideal points, and I apply the conditions to the problem of predicting future voting decisions. Without knowledge of the location of the voting alternatives, voting decisions by multiple voters impose no joint testable restrictions on the location of their ideal points, even in one dimension. Furthermore, the voting records of any group of voters can always be embedded in a two-dimensional space with strictly concave utility representations and arbitrary ideal points for the voters. The analysis readily generalizes to choice situations over general finite budget sets.

Suggested Citation

  • Kalandrakis, Tasos, 2010. "Rationalizable voting," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 5(1), January.
  • Handle: RePEc:the:publsh:425

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    14. Tasos Kalandrakis, 2006. "Roll Call Data and Ideal Points," Wallis Working Papers WP42, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Marc Henry & Ismael Mourifié, 2013. "Euclidean Revealed Preferences: Testing The Spatial Voting Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(4), pages 650-666, June.
    2. Andrei Gomberg, 2011. "Vote Revelation: Empirical Characterization of Scoring Rules," Working Papers 1102, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
    3. Hiroki Nishimura & Efe A. Ok & John K.-H. Quah, 2017. "A Comprehensive Approach to Revealed Preference Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1239-1263, April.
    4. Azrieli, Yaron, 2011. "Axioms for Euclidean preferences with a valence dimension," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(4-5), pages 545-553.
    5. Heufer, Jan, 2013. "Quasiconcave preferences on the probability simplex: A nonparametric analysis," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-30.
    6. Jinhui H. Bai & Roger Lagunoff, 2013. "Revealed Political Power," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54, pages 1085-1115, November.
    7. Eguia, Jon X., 2011. "Foundations of spatial preferences," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 200-205, March.
    8. Echenique, Federico & Chambers, Christopher P., 2014. "On the consistency of data with bargaining theories," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 9(1), January.

    More about this item


    Voting; revealed preferences; ideal points;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General


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