Public Choice

, Volume 158, Issue 3–4, pp 331–357 | Cite as

Which voting rule is most likely to choose the “best” candidate?

  • T. Nicolaus Tideman
  • Florenz PlassmannEmail author


One criterion for evaluating voting rules is the frequency with which they select the best candidate. Using a spatial model of voting that is capable of simulating data with the same statistical structure as data from actual elections, we simulate elections for which we can define the best candidate. We use these simulated data to investigate the frequencies with which 14 voting rules chose this candidate as their winner. We find that the Black rule tends to perform better than the other rules, especially in elections with few voters. The Bucklin rule, the plurality rule, and the anti-plurality rule tend to perform worse than the other 11 rules, especially in elections with many voters.


Spatial model Multinomial-Dirichlet distribution Black rule 

JEL Classification

C4 D72 



We express our gratitude to Christian Henning, who commented on our paper at the 2012 meetings of the Public Choice Society, and to an anonymous referee, who read our manuscript twice with unusual care and made several suggestions that helped us improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of EconomicsState University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA

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