Election Methods and Collective Decisions

  • Thomas Edward CavinEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Complexity book series (SPCOM)


This paper presents some simulation results on various collective decision methods in the context of Downsian proximity electorates. I show why these results are less than ideal, and contrast these different voting systems with a new system called Serial Approval Vote Elections (SAVE), which produces better outcomes that approach the ideal represented by the median voter theorem. I show how SAVE works in both normal and unusual electorates, how SAVE can be easily integrated into committee procedures, and how SAVE can be used in larger elections.


Collective decisions Voting methods Median voter theorem Arrow’s impossibility theorem Serial approval vote elections 


  1. 1.
    Arrow, K.J.: Social Choice and Individual Values, Cowles Foundation Monograph, 3rd edn., vol. 12. Yale University Press (2012)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Black, D.: On the rationale of group decision-making. J. Polit. Econ. 56(1), 23–34 (1948). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brams, S.J., Fishburn, P.C.: Approval voting. Am. Polit. Sci. Rev. 72(3), 831–847 (1978). Scholar
  4. 4.
    Brennan, G., Hamlin, A.: Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium. Public Choice 95(1–2), 149–175 (1998). Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cary, D.: Estimating the margin of victory for instant-runoff voting. In: Electronic Voting Technology Workshop/Workshop on Trustworthy Elections, San Francisco, CA, (2011).
  6. 6.
    Cavin, T.E., Pavlov, O.V.: Social Decisions in a Democracy and the Introduction of Serial Approval Vote Elections. Social Choice and Welfare (2018, submitted)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Dodgson, C.L.: A Method For Taking Votes on More than Two Issues. Clarendon, Oxford (1876). Reprint in Black, D.: The Theory of Committees and Elections, pp. 224–234. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Mass. (1958) and McLean, I., Urken, A.: Classics of Social Choice. University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, Michigan (1995)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Downs, A.: An Economic Theory of Democracy. Harper, New York (1957)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Feddersen, T.J.: Rational choice theory and the paradox of not voting. J. Econo. Perspect. 18(1), 99–112 (2004). Scholar
  10. 10.
    Grofman, B., Feld, S.L.: If you like the alternative vote (aka the instant runoff), then you ought to know about the Coombs rule. Elect. Stud. 23(4), 641–659 (2004). Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gurwitz, C.: Weighted median algorithms for L\(_{\rm 1}\) approximation. BIT 30(2), 301–310 (1990). Scholar
  12. 12.
    Humphreys, M., Laver, M.: Spatial models, cognitive metrics, and majority rule equilibria. Br. J. Polit. Sci. 40(01), 11–30 (2010).
  13. 13.
    Nijenhuis, A., Wilf, H.S.: Combinatorial algorithms (1975).

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social Science and Policy Studies, Salisbury LaboratoriesWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA

Personalised recommendations