Electoral Reform and Social Choice Theory: Piecemeal Engineering and Selective Memory
Most electoral reforms are dictated by recognized problems discovered in the existing procedures or - perhaps more often - by an attempt to consolidate power distributions. Very rarely, if ever, is the motivation derived from the social choice theory even though it deals with issues pertaining to what is possible and what is impossible to achieve by using given procedures in general. We discuss some reforms focusing particularly on a relatively recent one proposed by Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen. It differs from many of its predecessors in invoking social choice considerations in proposing a new system of electing representatives. At the same time it exemplifies the tradeoffs involved in abandoning existing systems and adopting new ones.
KeywordsCondorcet consistency Plurality voting Plurality with runoff Black’s method Nanson’s rule
- 10.Maskin, E., Sen, A.K.: How majority rule might have stopped Donald Trump. The New York Times, 28 April 2016 (2016). https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/01/opinion/sunday/how-majority-rule-might-have-stopped-donald-trump.html
- 13.Nanson, E.J.: Methods of elections. Trans. Proc. Roy. Soc. Victoria 19, 197–240 (1883). McLean, I., Urken, A.B. (eds.) Classics of Social Choice, Chapter 14, pp. 321–359. University of Michigan Press (1995)Google Scholar
- 15.Nurmi, H.: On Nanson’s method. In: Borg, O., Apunen, O., Hakovirta, H., Paastela, J. (eds.) Democracy in the Modern World. Essays for Tatu Vanhanen, series A, vol. 260, pp. 199–210. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis, Tampere (1989)Google Scholar
- 17.Nurmi, H.: Reflections on two old Condorcet extensions. Trans. Comput. Collective Intell. XXXI, 9–21 (2018)Google Scholar