IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

The Significance of the Probabilistic Voting Theorem

  • Dan Usher

Public decision-making by majority rule is open to the danger of exploitation of minorities by majorities. Since any majority can employ the vote to expropriate the corresponding minority, it would seem that there can be no electoral equilibrium allocation of income or transfers in a democratic society and that democracy itself might be unstable. Much of democratic theory is devoted to the study of how this danger can be averted. The probabilistic voting theorem establishes that a degree of voter insensitivity to offers of rival political parties imparts an electoral equilibrium where it would not otherwise exits. The theorem is valid on its assumptions, but those assumptions are considerably stronger, and the theorem is less comforting about the prospects for the stability of democratic government, than one might at first suppose.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version 1990
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 785.

in new window

Date of creation: Sep 1990
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:785
Contact details of provider: Postal: Kingston, Ontario, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2250
Fax: (613) 533-6668
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:785. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Babcock)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.