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(Don’t) Make My Vote Count

  • Faravelli, Marco
  • Sanchez-Pages, Santiago

Proponents of proportional electoral rules often argue that majority rule depresses turnout and may lower welfare due to the 'tyranny of the majority' problem. The present paper studies the impact of electoral rules on turnout and social welfare. We analyze a model of instrumental voting where citizens have private information over their individual cost of voting and over the alternative they prefer. The electoral rule used to select the winning alternative is a combination of majority rule and proportional rule. Results show that the above arguments against majority rule do not hold in this set up. Social welfare and turnout increase with the weight that the electoral rule gives to majority rule when the electorate is expected to be split, and they are independent of the electoral rule employed when the expected size of the minority group tends to zero. However, more proportional rules can increase turnout within the minority group. This effect is stronger the smaller the minority group. We then conclude that majority rule fosters overall turnout and increases social welfare, whereas proportional rule fosters the participation of minorities.

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Paper provided by Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE) in its series SIRE Discussion Papers with number 2012-07.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:edn:sirdps:310
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  1. Cherchye, L.J.H. & de Rock, B. & Vermeulen, F.M.P., 2009. "Opening the black box of intra-household decision-making : Theory and non-parametric empirical tests of general collective consumption models," Other publications TiSEM bc6d0cf7-c686-40a4-84f4-9, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  2. A. Fostel & H. Scarf & M. Todd, 2004. "Two new proofs of Afriat’s theorem," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 211-219, 07.
  3. Donald J. Brown & Caterina Calsamiglia, 2005. "The Nonparametric Approach to Applied Welfare Analysis," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1507, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Richard W. Blundell & Martin Browning & Ian A. Crawford, 2003. "Nonparametric Engel Curves and Revealed Preference," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 205-240, January.
  5. Syngjoo Choi & Shachar Kariv & Wieland Mueller & Dan Silverman, 2011. "Who Is (More) Rational?," Vienna Economics Papers 1105, University of Vienna, Department of Economics.
  6. Douglas M. Gale & Shachar Kariv & Syngjoo Choi & Raymond Fisman, 2007. "Revealing Preferences Graphically: An Old Method Gets a New Tool Kit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 153-158, May.
  7. Marcel Richter & Kam-Chau Wong, 2005. "Infinite inequality systems and cardinal revelations," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(4), pages 947-971, November.
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