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The men who weren't even there: Legislative voting with absentees

Author

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  • László Á. Kóczy

    (Óbuda University)

  • Miklós Pintér

    (Corvinus University)

Abstract

Voting power in voting situations is measured by the probability of changing decisions by altering the cast `yes' or `no' votes. Recently this analysis has been extended by strategic abstention. Abstention, just as `yes' or `no' votes can change decisions. This theory is often applied to weighted voting situations, where voters can cast multiple votes. Measuring the power of a party in a national assembly seems to fit this model, but in fact its power comprises of votes of individual representatives each having a single vote. These representatives may vote yes or no, or may abstain, but in some cases they are not even there to vote. We look at absentees not due to a conscious decision, but due to illness, for instance. Formally voters will be absent, say, ill, with a certain probability and only present otherwise. As in general not all voters will be present, a thin majority may quickly melt away making a coalition that is winning in theory a losing one in practice. A simple model allows us to differentiate between winning and more winning and losing and less losing coalitions reflected by a voting game that is not any more simple. We use data from Scotland, Hungary and a number of other countries both to illustrate the relation of theoretical and effective power and show our results working in the practice.

Suggested Citation

  • László Á. Kóczy & Miklós Pintér, 2011. "The men who weren't even there: Legislative voting with absentees," Working Paper Series 1104, Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:pkk:wpaper:1104.rdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. van Deemen, Adrian & Rusinowska, Agnieszka, 2003. "Paradoxes of Voting Power in Dutch Politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 109-137, April.
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    4. MoshÊ Machover & Dan S. Felsenthal, 1997. "Ternary Voting Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 26(3), pages 335-351.
    5. Ines Lindner, 2008. "A Special Case of Penrose’s Limit Theorem When Abstention is Allowed," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 64(4), pages 495-518, June.
    6. Shapley, L. S. & Shubik, Martin, 1954. "A Method for Evaluating the Distribution of Power in a Committee System," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(3), pages 787-792, September.
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    a priori voting power; power index; being absent from voting; minority; Shapley-Shubik index; Shapley value;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C71 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Cooperative Games
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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