Majority voting

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Updated: Aug 20, 2021

A voting method which selects as the winner the option with the majority of votes. When a choice is made from just two options May’s theorem states that majority voting is the only decision rule to satisfy the conditions of Anonymity (a permutation of the names of any two individuals does not change the outcome), Neutrality (all possible options should be treated symmetrically), Decisiveness (the decision rule must always pick a wiimer), and Positive Responsiveness (increasing the vote for the winning option should not lead to the declaration of another option as the winner). If there are more than two options the Condorcet paradox demonstrates how majority voting can fail to produce a successful outcome unless preferences have particular properties. For example, if preferences are single-peaked the outcome of majority voting is described by the median voter theorem. See also Arrow’s impossibility theorem.

Reference: Oxford Press Dictonary of Economics, 5th edt.



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James Knight
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