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How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: evidence from a pivotal voter model

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In many jurisdictions, whether referendum results are binding depend on certain legally defined quorum requirements. With a pivotal-voter model, we examine how quorum requirements affect voter’s behavior. We conclude that quorums can be the cause of lower turnout and that they can deliver outcomes that are an inadequate basis to make inferences about collective preferences. We further conclude that quorums may help minorities to impose their will on majorities and that they may create a bias against the status quo. Finally, they generate situations under which the secrecy of the vote is called into question.

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  • Luís Francisco Aguiar & Pedro C. Magalhães, 2009. "How quorum rules distort referendum outcomes: evidence from a pivotal voter model," NIPE Working Papers 17/2009, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  • Handle: RePEc:nip:nipewp:17/2009
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    Cited by:

    1. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães & Christoph A. Vanberg, 2020. "What are the best quorum rules? A laboratory investigation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 185(1), pages 215-231, October.
    2. Yoichi Hizen, 2021. "A Referendum Experiment with Participation Quorums," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(1), pages 19-47, February.
    3. Charléty, Patricia & Fagart, Marie-Cécile & Souam, Saïd, 2019. "Quorum rules and shareholder voting," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    4. Jac C. Heckelman, 2016. "A note on majority rule and neutrality with an application to state votes at the Constitutional Convention of 1787," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(3), pages 245-255, June.
    5. Luís Aguiar-Conraria & Pedro C. Magalhães & Christoph A. Vanberg, 2016. "Experimental evidence that quorum rules discourage turnout and promote election boycotts," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 19(4), pages 886-909, December.
    6. Hans Peter Grüner & Thomas Tröger, 2019. "Linear Voting Rules," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 87(6), pages 2037-2077, November.
    7. Matveenko, Andrei & Valei, Azamat & Vorobyev, Dmitriy, 2022. "Participation quorum when voting is costly," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C).
    8. François Maniquet & Massimo Morelli, 2015. "Approval quorums dominate participation quorums," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 45(1), pages 1-27, June.
    9. Karel Kouba & Michael Haman, 2021. "When do voters boycott elections with participation quorums?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 189(1), pages 279-300, October.
    10. Yoichi Hizen & Masafumi Shinmyo, 2011. "Imposing a turnout threshold in referendums," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 491-503, September.
    11. Sabine Flamand & Orestis Troumpounis, 2014. "Participation quorums in costly meetings," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 53-62, April.
    12. Tomoya Tajika, 2018. "Signature requirements for initiatives," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 30(4), pages 451-476, October.
    13. Yoichi Hizen, 2015. "Does a Least-Preferred Candidate Win a Seat? A Comparison of Three Electoral Systems," Economies, MDPI, vol. 3(1), pages 1-35, January.
    14. Dmitriy Vorobyev, 2022. "Information disclosure in elections with sequential costly participation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 190(3), pages 317-344, March.
    15. Patricia Charléty & Marie-Cécile Fagart & Saïd Souam, 2017. "Quorum Rules and Shareholder Power," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-35, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    16. Grüner, Hans Peter & Tröger, Thomas, 2016. "Optimal voting mechanisms with costly participation and abstention," CEPR Discussion Papers 11127, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    17. David Altman, 2017. "The Potential of Direct Democracy: A Global Measure (1900–2014)," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 133(3), pages 1207-1227, September.
    18. Marc Pauly, 2013. "Characterizing referenda with quorums via strategy-proofness," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 75(4), pages 581-597, October.

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