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A conditional defense of plurality rule: generalizing May's theorem in a restricted informational environment

Goodin, Robert; List, Christian

Description

May's theorem famously shows that, in social decisions between two options, simple majority rule uniquely satisfies four appealing conditions. Although this result is often cited in support of majority rule, it has never been extended beyond decisions based on pairwise comparisons of options. We generalize May's theorem to many-option decisions where voters each cast one vote. Surprisingly, plurality rule uniquely satisfies May's conditions. This suggests a conditional defense of plurality...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGoodin, Robert
dc.contributor.authorList, Christian
dc.date.accessioned2015-12-07T22:53:17Z
dc.identifier.issn0092-5853
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/27796
dc.description.abstractMay's theorem famously shows that, in social decisions between two options, simple majority rule uniquely satisfies four appealing conditions. Although this result is often cited in support of majority rule, it has never been extended beyond decisions based on pairwise comparisons of options. We generalize May's theorem to many-option decisions where voters each cast one vote. Surprisingly, plurality rule uniquely satisfies May's conditions. This suggests a conditional defense of plurality rule: If a society's balloting procedure collects only a single vote from each voter, then plurality rule is the uniquely compelling electoral procedure. To illustrate the conditional nature of this claim, we also identify a richer informational environment in which approval voting, not plurality rule, is supported by a May-style argument.
dc.publisherBlackwell Publishing Ltd
dc.sourceAmerican Journal of Political Science
dc.titleA conditional defense of plurality rule: generalizing May's theorem in a restricted informational environment
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume50
dc.date.issued2006
local.identifier.absfor160609 - Political Theory and Political Philosophy
local.identifier.absfor220319 - Social Philosophy
local.identifier.ariespublicationu8908663xPUB53
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationGoodin, Robert, College of Arts and Social Sciences, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationList, Christian, University of London
local.description.embargo2037-12-31
local.bibliographicCitation.issue4
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage940
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage949
local.identifier.doi10.1111/j.1540-5907.2006.00225.x
dc.date.updated2015-12-07T12:39:21Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-33748784091
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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