Political Succession as Policy Succession: Why so much Stability?
A couple of years ago the editor of Public Choice, Professor Gordon Tullock, invited the readers of the journal to write brief comments on the topic ‘Why so much stability?’ The underlying motivation for the invitation was an obvious discrepancy between what the spatial models of voting and elections ‘predict’ and what we observe around us. More specifically, the results achieved by Kramer, McKelvey, Plott and Schofield suggest that in multidimensional policy-spaces the voting equilibria are extremely rare.1 And yet the real world voting processes seem far from chaotic. Rather, what we see in them is either a relatively orderly change from one policy alternative to another as a non-arbitrary response to preference changes of the voters or no change at all except for the nomenclature of the choices. The purpose of this chapter is to address the above question in the light of social choice theory; in other words, an explanation or a set of explanations will be sought for this apparent stability partly in the very same theory which has been interpreted as implying the instability or chaos.
KeywordsSocial Choice Policy Succession Winning Coalition Social Choice Function Condorcet Winner
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- C. R. Plott, ‘A notion of equilibrium and its possibility under majority rule’, American Economic Review, 57 (1967) pp. 787–806Google Scholar
- See also W. H. Riker, Liberalism against Populism: A confrontation between the theory of democracy and the theory of social choice (San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1982).Google Scholar
- N. Schofield, ‘Classification of voting games on manifolds’, Social Science Working Paper 488, California Institute of Technology, 1983.Google Scholar
- 15.For a discussion on cumulative voting, see S. Merrill III, ‘Strategic decisions under one-stage multi-candidate voting systems’, Public Choice, 26 (1981) pp. 115–34.Google Scholar
- 17.M. A. Aizerman and F. T. Aleskerov, ‘Local operators in models of social choice’, Systems and Control Letters (1983) pp. 1–6Google Scholar
- M. A. Aizerman and F. T. Aleskerov, ‘Voting operators in the space of choice functions’, Social Science Working Paper 559, California Institute of Technology, 1985.Google Scholar
- 20.D. S. Felsenthal and Z. Maoz, ‘Monotonicity and consistency reconsidered’, Department of Political Science, University of Haifa, mimeo, 1985Google Scholar
- R. Farquharson, Theory of Voting (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1969).Google Scholar
- 22.D. S. Felsenthal, Z. Maoz and A. Rapoport, ‘The Condorcet efficiency of sophisticated plurality and approval voting’, paper prepared for delivery at the 1985 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, 1985.Google Scholar
- See also R. G. Niemi and A. Q. Frank, ‘Sophisticated voting under the plurality procedure’, in P. C. Ordeshook and K A. Shepsle (eds), Political Equilibrium (Boston, Mass.: KluwerNijhoff, 1982).Google Scholar