Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 43–57 | Cite as

Some chance for consensus: voting methods for which consensus is an equilibrium

  • Jobst HeitzigEmail author
  • Forest W. Simmons


We introduce the following basic voting method: voters submit both a “consensus” and a “fall-back” ballot. If all “consensus” ballots name the same option, it wins; otherwise, a randomly drawn “fall-back” ballot decides. If there is one potential consensus option that everyone prefers to the benchmark lottery which picks the favorite of a randomly drawn voter, then naming that option on all “consensus” ballots builds a very strong form of correlated equilibrium. Unlike common consensus procedures, ours is not biased toward the status quo and removes incentives to block consensus. Variants of the method allow for large groups, partial consensus, and choosing from several potential consensus options.


Consensus decision-making Voting method Fall-back method Benchmark Lottery Random ballot Strong correlated equilibrium 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Transdisciplinary Concepts and MethodsPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Liberal Arts & Mathematics DivisionPortland Community College Cascade CampusPortlandUSA

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