Theory and Decision

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 111–124

The potential of iterative voting to solve the separability problem in referendum elections


  • Clark Bowman
    • Division of Applied MathematicsBrown University
    • Department of MathematicsGrand Valley State University
  • Ada Yu
    • Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine

DOI: 10.1007/s11238-013-9383-2

Cite this article as:
Bowman, C., Hodge, J.K. & Yu, A. Theory Decis (2014) 77: 111. doi:10.1007/s11238-013-9383-2


In referendum elections, voters are often required to register simultaneous votes on multiple proposals. The separability problem occurs when a voter’s preferred outcome on one proposal depends on the outcomes of other proposals. This type of interdependence can lead to unsatisfactory or even paradoxical election outcomes, such as a winning outcome that is the last choice of every voter. Here we propose an iterative voting scheme that allows voters to revise their voting strategies based on the outcomes of previous iterations. Using a robust computer simulation, we investigate the potential of this approach to solve the separability problem.


Referendum electionsSeparabilityIterative voting Computer simulationGame theoryLearning

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013