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Covering, Dominance, and Institution Free Properties of Social Change

McKelvey, Richard D. (1985) Covering, Dominance, and Institution Free Properties of Social Change. Social Science Working Paper, 494. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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This paper shows that different institutional structures for aggregation of preferences under majority rule may generate social choices that are quite similar, so that the actual social choice may be rather insensitive to the choice of institutional rules. Specifically, in a multidimensional setting, where all voters have strictly quasi concave preferences, it is shown that the "uncovered set" contains the outcomes that would arise from equilibrium behavior under three different institutional settings. The three institutional settings are two candidate competition in a large electorate, cooperative behavior in small committees, and sophisticated voting behavior in a legislative environment where the agenda is determined endogenously. Because of its apparent institution free properties, the uncovered set may provide a useful generalization of the core when a core does not exist. A general existence theorem for the uncovered set is proven, and for the Downsian case, bounds for the uncovered set are computed. These bounds show that the uncovered set is centered around a generalized median set whose size is a measure of the degree of symmetry of the voter ideal points.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Additional Information:Revised. Original dated to September 1983. This work was supported, in part by NSF grants #SOC79-21588 and SES82-08184 to California Institute of Technology. I benefited from discussions with Nicholas Miller, Ken Shepsle, and Barry Weingast. Section 5 of this paper began as joint work with Ken Shepsle and Barry Weingast. They have kindly permitted me to present it here. Published as McKelvey, Richard D. "Covering, dominance, and institution-free properties of social choice." American Journal of Political Science (1986): 283-314.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Game theory, Social choice, Majority rule, Voting, Political science, Hyperplanes, Majority voting, Mixed strategy, Voting paradox, Social order
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:494
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170921-143236008
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81701
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:21 Sep 2017 22:21
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 18:46

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