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On the Optimal Majority Rule

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  • Compte, Olivier
  • Jehiel, Philippe

Abstract

We develop a simple model that rationalizes why less stringent majority rules are preferable to unanimity in large committees. Proposals are randomly generated and the running proposal is adopted whenever it is approved by a sufficiently large share of voters. Unanimity induces excessive delays while too weak majority requirements induce the adoption of suboptimal proposals. The optimal majority rule balances these two inefficiencies: it requires the approval by a share equal to the probability (assumed to be constant across proposals) that a given member gets more than the average welfare associated with the running proposal. Various extensions are considered.

Suggested Citation

  • Compte, Olivier & Jehiel, Philippe, 2017. "On the Optimal Majority Rule," CEPR Discussion Papers 12492, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12492
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Merlo, Antonio & Wilson, Charles A, 1995. "A Stochastic Model of Sequential Bargaining with Complete Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 371-399, March.
    2. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 38-67, March.
    3. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2010. "Bargaining and Majority Rules: A Collective Search Perspective," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(2), pages 189-221, April.
    4. Albrecht, James & Anderson, Axel & Vroman, Susan, 2010. "Search by committee," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1386-1407, July.
    5. Bruno Strulovici, 2010. "Learning While Voting: Determinants of Collective Experimentation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 933-971, May.
    6. Eraslan, Hulya & Merlo, Antonio, 2002. "Majority Rule in a Stochastic Model of Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 31-48, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vitaly Malyshev, 2021. "Optimal majority threshold in a stochastic environment," Group Decision and Negotiation, Springer, vol. 30(2), pages 427-446, April.
    2. Helios Herrera & Antonin Macé & Matias Nùnez, 2021. "Brexit: Brinkmanship and Compromise," Working Papers halshs-03225030, HAL.

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