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Rationalizable Voting

We derive necessary and sufficient conditions in order for a finite number of binary voting choices to be consistent with the hypothesis that voters have preferences that admit concave utility representations. When the location of the voting alternatives is known, we apply these conditions in order to derive simple, nontrivial testable restrictions on the location of voters’ ideal points, and in order to predict individual voting behavior. If, on the other hand, the location of voting alternatives is unrestricted then voting decisions impose no testable restrictions on the joint location of voter ideal points, even if the space of alternatives is one dimensional. Furthermore, two dimensions are always sufficient to represent or fold the voting records of any number of voters while endowing all these voters with strictly concave preferences and arbitrary ideal points. The analysis readily generalizes to choice situations over any finite sets of alternatives.

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File URL: http://www.wallis.rochester.edu/WallisPapers/wallis_51.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy in its series Wallis Working Papers with number WP51.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:roc:wallis:wp51
Contact details of provider: Postal: University of Rochester, Wallis Institute, Harkness 109B Rochester, New York 14627 U.S.A.

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  1. Forges, Françoise & Minelli, Enrico, 2009. "Afriat's theorem for general budget sets," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4099, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Matzkin, Rosa L. & Richter, Marcel K., 1991. "Testing strictly concave rationality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 287-303, April.
  3. Chavas, Jean-Paul & Cox, Thomas L, 1993. "On Generalized Revealed Preference Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 493-506, May.
  4. Arianna Degan & Antonio Merlo, 2007. "Do Voters Vote Sincerely?," NBER Working Papers 12922, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Chambers, Christopher P. & Echenique, Federico, 2009. "Supermodularity and preferences," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(3), pages 1004-1014, May.
  6. James C. Cox & Daniel Friedman & Vjollca Sadiraj, 2008. "Revealed Altruism," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 76(1), pages 31-69, 01.
  7. Yakar Kannai, 2005. "Remarks concerning concave utility functions on finite sets," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 333-344, 08.
  8. Kannai, Yakar, 1977. "Concavifiability and constructions of concave utility functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-56, March.
  9. Anna Bogomolnaïa & Jean-François Laslier, 2004. "Euclidean preferences," Working Papers hal-00242941, HAL.
  10. Matzkin, Rosa L, 1991. "Axioms of Revealed Preference for Nonlinear Choice Sets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(6), pages 1779-86, November.
  11. Varian, Hal R, 1982. "The Nonparametric Approach to Demand Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 945-73, July.
  12. Richter, Marcel K. & Wong, K.-C.Kam-Chau, 2004. "Concave utility on finite sets," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 341-357, April.
  13. Tasos Kalandrakis, 2006. "Roll Call Data and Ideal Points," Wallis Working Papers WP42, University of Rochester - Wallis Institute of Political Economy.
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