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Fixing the Quorum: Representation versus Abstention

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  • Sanne Zwart

Abstract

The majority of the participating voters in referenda does not necessarily reflect the majority of the whole population since voters can abstain. This paper shows that a quorum exists for which the outcome of the referendum coincides with the population preference. However, a second equilibrium can exist in which the proposal is always rejected. When insu±cient information makes the optimal quorum unknown, it is in general more harmful to set the quorum too high than too low. Robustness of the results is analyzed by allowing pressure groups to encourage or discourage participation after the quorum is set.

Suggested Citation

  • Sanne Zwart, 2007. "Fixing the Quorum: Representation versus Abstention," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/07, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2007/07
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "The law of large numbers with a continuum of IID random variables," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 19-25, February.
    2. Helios Herrera & Andrea Mattozzi, 2010. "Quorum and Turnout in Referenda," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, pages 838-871.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electoral engineering; quorum; referendum; voting/not-voting decision; voting rules;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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