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Published August 2, 2017 | Published
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Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules


We consider the endogenous choice of a voting rule, characterized by the majority size needed to elect change over the status quo, by a society who will use the rule to make future decisions. Under simple assumptions on the uncertainty concerning the future alternatives that will be voted upon, voters' have induced preferences over voting rules that are single-peaked and intermediate. We explore the existence of self-stable voting rules, i.e., voting rules such that there is no alternative rule that would beat the given voting rule if the given voting rule is used to choose between the rules. There are situations where self-stable voting rules do not exist. We explore conditions that guarantee existence, as well as issues relating to efficiency and constitutional design.

Additional Information

We thank Randy Calvert, Dan Levin, and Jean Mercier Ythier for very helpful discussions of the paper. We also thank Danilo Coelho, Gabrielle Demange, Anke Gerber, Annik Laruelle, Eric Maskin, Charlie Plott, Cheng-Zhong Qin, Jim Snyder, Guofu Tan, Federico Valenciano, and Peyton Young for helpful conversations and suggestions, and Takehiko Yamato for detailed comments on an earlier draft. Financial support under NSF grant SES-9986190 and under DCGYT Direcció General de Recerca projects PD-98-0870 and SGR-980062 is gratefully acknowledged. This project was initiated during a visit of Barbera to Caltech. Published as Barbera, S., & Jackson, M. (2000). Choosing how to choose: Self-stable majority rules. Universitat Autonoma de.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023