IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/clt/sswopa/1133.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Standard Voting Power Indexes Don't Work: An Empirical Analysis

Author

Listed:
  • Gelman, Andrew
  • Katz, Jonathan N.
  • Bafumi, Joseph

Abstract

Voting power indexes such as that of Banzhaf are derived, explicitly or implicitly, from the assumption that all votes are equally likely (i.e., random voting). That assumption implies that the probability of a vote being decisive in a jurisdiction with n voters is proportional to 1/√n. In this article the authors show how this hypothesis has been empirically tested and rejected using data from various US and European elections. They find that the probability of a decisive vote is approximately proportional to 1/n. The random voting model (and, more generally, the square-root rule) overestimates the probability of close elections in larger jurisdictions. As a result, classical voting power indexes make voters in large jurisdictions appear more powerful than they really are. The most important political implication of their result is that proportionally weighted voting systems (that is, each jurisdiction gets a number of votes proportional to n) are basically fair. This contradicts the claim in the voting power literature that weights should be approximately proportional to √n.
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • Gelman, Andrew & Katz, Jonathan N. & Bafumi, Joseph, 2002. "Standard Voting Power Indexes Don't Work: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 1133, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:clt:sswopa:1133
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.hss.caltech.edu/SSPapers/wp1133.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:clt:sswopa:1133. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Victoria Mason). General contact details of provider: http://www.hss.caltech.edu/ss .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.