Top Monotonicity: A Common Root for Single Peakedness, Single Crossing and the Median Voter Result
When the members of a voting body exhibit single peaked preferences, majority winners exist. Moreover, the median(s) of the preferred alternatives of voters is (are) indeed the majority (Condorcet) winner(s). This important result of Duncan Black (1958) has been crucial in the development of public economics and political economy, even if it only provides a sufficient condition. Yet, there are many examples in the literature of environments where voting equilibria exist and alternative versions of the median voter results are satisfied while single peakedness does not hold. Some of them correspond to instances where other relevant conditions, apparently not connected with single eakedness, are satisfied. For example preferences may satisfy the single-crossing property (Mirrlees, 1971, Gans and Smart, 1996, and Milgrom and Shannon, 1994), intermediateness (Grandmont, 1978) or order restriction (Rothstein, 1990). Still other interesting cases of existence of voting equilibria do not fall in any of these categories. We present a new and weak domain restriction which encompasses all the above mentioned ones, llows for new cases, still guarantees the existence of Condorcet winners and preserves a version of the median voter result. We illustrate how this new condition, that we call top monotonicity, arises naturally in different economic contexts.
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