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

  • László Á. Kóczy


    (Óbuda University)

  • Miklós Pintér


    (Corvinus University)

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.

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Paper provided by Óbuda University, Keleti Faculty of Business and Management in its series Working Paper Series with number 1104.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pkk:wpaper:1104.rdf
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  1. MoshÊ Machover & Dan S. Felsenthal, 1997. "Ternary Voting Games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 335-351.
  2. 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.
  3. van Deemen, Adrian & Rusinowska, Agnieszka, 2003. " Paradoxes of Voting Power in Dutch Politics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 109-37, April.
  4. van den Brink, J.R., 1999. "An Axiomatization of the Shapley Value Using a Fairness Property," Discussion Paper 1999-120, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  5. Annick Laruelle & Federico Valenciano, 2012. "Quaternary dichotomous voting rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 431-454, March.
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