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Welfarist evaluations of decision rules for boards of representatives

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We consider a decision board with representatives who vote on proposals on behalf of their constituencies. We look for decision rules that realize utilitarian and (welfarist) egalitarian ideals. We set up a simple model and obtain roughly the following results. If the interests of people from the same constituency are uncorrelated, then a weighted rule with square root weights does best in terms of both ideals. If there are perfect correlations, then the utilitarian ideal requires proportional weights, whereas the egalitarian ideal requires equal weights. We investigate correlations that are in between these extremes and provide analytic arguments to connect our results to Barberà and Jackson (J Polit Econ 114(2):317–339, 2006) and to Banzhaf voting power.

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Correspondence to Luc Bovens.

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Beisbart, C., Bovens, L. Welfarist evaluations of decision rules for boards of representatives. Soc Choice Welfare 29, 581–608 (2007).

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