Public Choice

, Volume 179, Issue 1–2, pp 51–95 | Cite as

Exploring the effects of national and regional popular vote Interstate compact on a toy symmetric version of the Electoral College: an electoral engineering perspective

  • Olivier de Mouzon
  • Thibault LaurentEmail author
  • Michel Le Breton
  • Dominique Lepelley


The main purpose of this paper is to explore the consequences of the formation of either a Regional Popular Vote Interstate compact or a National Popular Vote Interstate compact on the functioning of a toy symmetric version of the Electoral College. The two versions of interstate compacts that are considered here differ in only one respect: in one case, the interstate compact allocates its electoral votes to the regional popular winner, while in the other case it allocates the votes to the national popular winner. They both differ from the ongoing National Popular Vote Interstate Compact as it is assumed that the agreement is effective as soon as the members sign it. Decisiveness and welfare analyses are conducted with a simplified symmetric theoretical version of the Electoral College wherein malapportionment problems are absent. The three most popular probabilistic models are considered and the study is conducted either from the self-interest perspective of the initiators of the interstate compact or from a general interest perspective. The analysis combines analytical arguments and simulations.


Electoral College Voting power Interstate compact 

JEL Classification

D71 D72 D78 



This paper is a short version of a working paper that contains much more material, in particular, eight appendices to which we refer in this manuscript. The longer version is available on the websites of the authors. The codes of our computer program SimuElect are available at The authors thank Arnaud Dellis for comments at an early stage of this research and William F. Shughart II for a very carreful reading of the manuscript and for suggesting stylistic improvements. They express their deepest gratitude to Nick Miller, who has returned, as a non anonymous referee, a long and insightful report. We were lucky to benefit from his constructive criticisms concerning both the content and the exposition of our manuscript, but he should not be held responsible for the imperfections, limitations and mistakes that remain. Michel Le Breton would like to express his immense respect and gratitude to Ken Arrow to whom this special issue is dedicated. He always has considered his insightful and deep work as a model to which research in social sciences should tend. Ken Arrow was interested in many topics (not to say all) and majority voting (the topic of the current paper) was among them. He is pleased to report that among the many occasions in which he had the great chance and opportunity to interact/talk with the master, he remembers, in particular, the meeting of the American Economic Association (AEA) in Boston, January 1994. He was invited by Amartya Sen to present a paper on Condorcet and majority voting in a session dedicated to social choice. Ken Arrow was discussant. Needless to say that his comments were, as always, generous, but incisive. This intimidating, but exceptional experience will remain a great moment of his intellectual life. He is pleased to pay tribute to that giant through this new coauthored paper on majority voting.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier de Mouzon
    • 1
  • Thibault Laurent
    • 2
    Email author
  • Michel Le Breton
    • 3
  • Dominique Lepelley
    • 4
  1. 1.Toulouse School of Economics, INRAUniversity of Toulouse CapitoleToulouseFrance
  2. 2.Toulouse School of Economics, CNRSUniversity of Toulouse CapitoleToulouseFrance
  3. 3.Institut Universitaire de France and Toulouse School of EconomicsUniversity of Toulouse CapitoleToulouseFrance
  4. 4.CEMOI, Faculté de Droit et de Sciences Économiques et PolitiquesUniversité de La RéunionSaint-DenisFrance

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