Power Indices And Probabilistic Voting Assumptions
This paper compares the theoretical bases of the Shapley-Shubik and Banzhaf indices of voting power for a legislature with weighted voting. Definitions based on probabilistic-voting assumptions, useful both as behavioral descriptions and for computation in empirical applications, are compared in terms of necessary and sufficient conditions on the choice of voting probabilities. It is shown that the Shapley-Shubik index requires stronger conditions than the Banzhaf index : the former that voting probabilities be chosen by all players from a common uniform distribution on the unit interval, the latter only that voting probabilities be selected independently from any set of distributions (on the unit interval) which have a common mean of 1/2. This result haS a bearing on the theoretical criteria by which one may choose between the two indices in a voting context.
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