Theory and Decision

, Volume 61, Issue 3, pp 251–276 | Cite as

How Does Separability Affect The Desirability Of Referendum Election Outcomes?

Article

Abstract

Recent research has shown that in referendum elections, the presence of interdependence within voter preferences can lead to election outcomes that are undesirable and even paradoxical. However, most of the examples leading to these undesirable outcomes involve contrived voting situations that would be unlikely to occur in actual elections. In this paper, we use computer simulations to investigate the desirability of referendum election outcomes. We show that highly undesirable election outcomes occur not only in contrived examples, but also in randomly generated elections. Our data suggest that the presence of interdependent preferences significantly increases the likelihood of such undesirable outcomes, and that certain alternative voting methods, such as sequential voting and setwise aggregation, hold the potential to produce outcomes that more accurately reflect the will of the electorate.

Keywords

computer simulation preference interdependence referendum elections separable preferences voting paradoxes 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bradley W.J., Hodge J.K., Kilgour D.M. (2005): Separable discrete preferences. Mathematical Social Sciences 49: 335–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brams S.J., Kilgour D.M., Zwicker W.S. (1997): Voting on referenda: The separability problem and possible solutions. Electoral Studies 16(3): 359–377CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brams S.J., Kilgour D.M., Zwicker W.S. (1998): The paradox of multiple elections. Social Choice and Welfare 15, 211–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Hodge J.K. (2002): Separable Preference Orders, PhD thesis, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MIGoogle Scholar
  5. Hodge J.K., Klima R.E. (2005). The Mathematics of Voting and Elections: A Hands on Approach, volume 22 of Mathematical World Series. American Mathematical Society, Providence, RIGoogle Scholar
  6. Kilgour D.M., Bradley W.J.(1998). Nonseparable preferences and simultaneous elections. Paper presented at American Political Science Association, Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  7. Lacy D., Niou E.M.S.(2000): A problem with referendums. Journal of Theoretical Politics 12(1): 5–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsGrand Valley State UniversityAllendaleUSA

Personalised recommendations