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Super Majoritarianism and the Endowment Effect


  • Uriel Procaccia


  • Uzi Segal



The American and some other constitutions entrench property rights by requiring super majoritarian voting as a condition for amending or revoking their own provisions. Following Buchanan and Tullock [5], this paper analyzes individuals' interests behind a veil of ignorance, and shows that under some standard assumptions, a (simple) majoritarian rule should be adopted. This result changes if one assumes that preferences are consistent with the behavioral phenomenon known as the "endowment effect." It then follows that (at least some) property rights are best defended by super majoritarian protection. The paper then shows that its theoretical results are consistent with a number of doctrines underlying American Constitutional Law.

Suggested Citation

  • Uriel Procaccia & Uzi Segal, 2002. "Super Majoritarianism and the Endowment Effect," Discussion Paper Series dp277, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp277

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jack L. Knetsch & J. A. Sinden, 1984. "Willingness to Pay and Compensation Demanded: Experimental Evidence of an Unexpected Disparity in Measures of Value," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 507-521.
    2. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
    3. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    4. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. "Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
    5. Ian Bateman & Alistair Munro & Bruce Rhodes & Chris Starmer & Robert Sugden, 1997. "A Test of the Theory of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 479-505.
    6. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    7. John C. Harsanyi, 1953. "Cardinal Utility in Welfare Economics and in the Theory of Risk-taking," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 61, pages 434-434.
    8. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226301532 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Giuseppe Attanasi & Luca CORAZZINI & Nikolaos GEORGANTZIS & Francesco PASSARELLI, 2009. "Risk Aversion, Over-Confidence and Private Information as determinants of Majority Thresholds," LERNA Working Papers 09.26.302, LERNA, University of Toulouse.

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