A note on majority rule and neutrality with an application to state votes at the Constitutional Convention of 1787
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Majority rule used in the legislative process has a bias toward the status quo. This implies that proposals are less likely to pass when the number of voters casting either “yes” or “no” votes sums to an even number rather than an odd number. The implication is weakly supported by examining state votes of 552 motions made at the 1787 Constitutional Convention. A difference is found in the expected direction but is not statistically significant at traditional levels.
KeywordsMajority rule Neutrality Federal convention Status quo Anonymous culture criterion
I thank Keith Dougherty and Nicholas Miller for their insightful comments on earlier versions of this paper.
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