Decisiveness and Inclusiveness: Two Aspects of the Intergovernmental Choice of European Voting Rules

  • Thomas König
  • Thomas Bräuninger


When studying the constitutional choice of European voting rules, most power index analyses concentrate on member states’ relative decisiveness for forming winning coalitions in the Council of Ministers. These studies have two shortcomings: (a) They ignore the distribution of relative power between the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament, as defined by the multi-cameral European legislative procedures. (b) They disregard the absolute notion of power, which is dependent on the inclusion of member states in winning coalitions under various voting rules. In this article we present our approach on member states’ constitutional choice of European voting rules with regard to the two notions of power: actors’ relative decisiveness and their absolute inclusiveness in decision making. We present an index to measure inclusiveness and apply our concept to the European multi-cameral legislature. On the basis of our study, we present a reasoned account of motives behind member states’ recent institutional reforms of legislative procedures.


Member State Power Index Coalition Formation Vote Rule Winning Coalition 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Achen, C.H. (1995), “How Can We Tell a Unitary Rational Actor when We See One?”, Paper prepared for presentation at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago.Google Scholar
  2. Attina, F. (1990), “The Voting Behavior of the European Parliament Members and the Problem of Europarties”, European Journal of Political Research, 5, 557–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barry, B. (1989), Theories of Justice. A Treatise on Social Justice, London: HarvesterWheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  4. Banzhaf, J.F. (1965), “Weighted Voting Doesn’t Work: A Mathematical Analysis”, Rutgers Law Review, 19, 317–43.Google Scholar
  5. Brams, S.J. (1975), Game Theory and Politics, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  6. Brams, S.J. (1976), Paradoxes in Politics, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Brams, S.J., and P. Affuso (1985), “New Paradoxes of Voting Power on the EC Council of Ministers”, Electoral Studies, 4, 135–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bräuninger, T. (1996), Die Modellierung von Entscheidungsverfahren internationaler Organisationen am Beispiel der Meeresbodenbehörde. Teilnahme-, Mitwirkungs-und Durchsetzungschancen in einem institutionalisierten Regime (unpublished thesis), Mannheim: University of Mannheim.Google Scholar
  9. Buchanan, J.M., and G. Tullock (1962), The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  10. Coleman, J.S. (1971), “Control of Collectivities and the Power of a Collectivity to Act”, in: B. Lieberman (ed.), Social Choice, New York: Gordon and Breach, 269–99.Google Scholar
  11. Dubey, P., and L.S. Shapley (1979), “Mathematical Properties of the Banzhaf Power Index”, Mathematics of Operations Research, 4, 99–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fischer, D., and A. Schotter (1978), “The Inevitability of the Paradox of Redistribution in the Allocation of Voting Weights”, Public Choice, 33, 49–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Garrett, G., and G. Tsebelis (1996), “An Institutional Critique of Intergovernmentalism”, International Organization, 50, 269–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Garrett, G., I. McLean, and M. Machover (1995), “Power, Power Indices and Blocking Power: A Comment on Johnston”, British Journal of Political Science, 25, 563–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hosli, M.O. (1993), “Admission of European Free Trade Association States to the European Community: Effects on Voting Power in the European Community Council of Ministers”, International Organization, 47, 629–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jacobs, F., R. Corbett, and M. Shackleton (1992), The European Parliament, London: Longman.Google Scholar
  17. Johnston, M. (1994), The European Council, Oxford: Westview.Google Scholar
  18. Johnston, R.J. (1995), “The Conflict over Qualified Majority Voting in the European Union Council of Ministers: An Analysis of the UK Negotiating Stance Using Power Indices”, British Journal of Political Science, 25, 245–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Koehler, D.H. (1990), “The Size of the Yolk: Computations of Odd and Even-Numbered Committees”, Social Choice and Welfare, 7, 231–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. König, T. (1997), Europa auf dem Weg zum Mehrheitssystem, Gründe und Konsequenzen nationaler und parlamentarischer Integration, Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.Google Scholar
  21. König, T., and T. Bräuninger (1996), “Power and Political Coordination in America and German Multi-chamber Legislation”, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 8, 331–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. König, T., and T. Bräuninger (1998), “The Inclusiveness of European Decision Rules”, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 10, 125–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lane, J.-E., R. Mmland, and S. Berg (1995), “The EU Parliament: Seats, States and Political Parties”, Journal of Theoretical Politics, 7, 395–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ludlow, P. (1991), “The European Commission”, in: R.O. Keohane, and S. Hoffman (eds.), The New European Community: Decisionmaking and Institutional Change, Boulder, Col.: Westview, 85–132.Google Scholar
  25. McKelvey, R. (1979), “General Conditions for Global Intransitivities in Formal Voting Models”, Econometrica, 47, 1085–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Nurmi, H. (1987), Comparing Voting Systems, Dordrecht: Reidel Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Schneider, G. (1995), “The Limits of Self-Reform: Institution-Building in the European Union”, European Journal of International Relations, 1, 59–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shapley, L.S., and M. Shubik (1954), “A Method for Evaluating the Distribution of Power in a Committee System”, American Political Science Review, 48, 787–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shelley, F.M. (1986), “Voting Power in Municipal Annexation Elections”, Quality and Quantity, 120, 257–60.Google Scholar
  30. Spence, D. (1994), “Structure, Functions and Procedures in the Commission”, in: G. Edwards, and D. Spence (eds.), The European Commission, Essex: Longman, 92–116.Google Scholar
  31. Steunenberg, B. (1994), “Decision Making Under Different Institutional Arrangements: Legislation by the European Community”, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 150, 642–69.Google Scholar
  32. Tsebelis, G. (1994), “The Power of the European Parliament as a Conditional Agenda Setter”, American Political Science Review, 88, 128–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Usher, J. (1994), “The Commission and the Law”, in: G. Edwards, and D. Spence (eds.), The European Commission, Essex: Longman, 146–68.Google Scholar
  34. Wessels, W. (1991), “The EC Council: The Community’s Decisionmaking Center”, in: R.O. Keohane, and S. Hoffman (eds.), The New European Community: Decisionmaking and Institutional Change, Boulder, Col.: Westview, 133–54.Google Scholar
  35. Westlake, M. (1994), The Commission and the Parliament, London: Butterworths.Google Scholar
  36. Widgrén, M. (1994), “Voting Power in the EC Decision-Making and the Consequences of Two Different Enlargements”, European Economic Review, 38, 1153–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas König
    • 1
  • Thomas Bräuninger
    • 1
  1. 1.Fachbereich Politik- und VerwaltungswissenschaftUniversität KonstanzKonstanzGermany

Personalised recommendations