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Protecting minorities through the average voting rules

Properties of an average voting rule - the outcome being some weighted average of votes – are investigated, with particular attention to its ability to protect minorities. The unique average voting outcome is characterized with a median formula which depends on the voters’ preferred allocations and some parameters constructed from the voters’ weights. We provide necessary and sufficient conditions for the average outcome to be above the majority outcome. A minority is said to be protected by a switch in voting rule if the voting outcome becomes closer to the median bliss point of the minority. A sufficient condition for minority protection is that, either the minority’s weight is sufficiently large or the majority outcome is too unfavorable to the minority. Applications to the composition of public goods and to public expenditures level are considered. We end by exploring the combined use of average and majority voting in a two-stage procedure for determining both the level and the composition of public expenditures.

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Paper provided by Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France in its series IDEP Working Papers with number 0303.

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Length: 40 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iep:wpidep:0303
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  1. Bergstrom, Ted C, 1979. " When Does Majority Rule Supply Public Goods Efficiently?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 81(2), pages 216-26.
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  3. Bilodeau, M., 1990. "Tax Earmarking and Separate School Financing," Cahiers de recherche 90-14, Departement d'Economique de la Faculte d'administration à l'Universite de Sherbrooke.
  4. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  5. Warr, Peter G., 1983. "The private provision of a public good is independent of the distribution of income," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 207-211.
  6. Michael McKee, 1988. "Political competition and the Roman Catholic schools: Ontario, Canada," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 57-67, January.
  7. Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Anke Gerber, 1998. "Political compromise and endogenous formation of coalitions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(3), pages 445-454.
  8. Bagnoli, Mark & McKee, Michael, 1991. "Controlling the Game: Political Sponsors and Bureaus," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 229-47, Fall.
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