Majoritarianism is the idea that collective decisions are made rightly when they reflect the views of the majority.
When there are more than two options, it can happen that no option reflects the views of the majority. It is not clear whether majoritarianism has implications for such cases. One possible interpretation of majoritarianism for such cases involves the “Condorcet criterion.” This is the criterion that if there is an option that secures a majority when paired head-to-head against every other option, then that option is the one that should be chosen. Most but not all voting theorists agree that voting rules for selecting among more than two options should satisfy the Condorcet criterion.
Even if majoritarianism is accepted and the Condorcet criterion is accepted as an expression of majoritarianism, that does not resolve all issues with respect to which option should be chosen when there are more than two, because of the possibility of majority-rule cycles. A majority-rule...
- Arrow K (1963) Social choice and individual values, 2nd edn. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
- Black D (1958) The theory of committees and elections. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Bordes G, Tideman N (1991) Independence of irrelevant alternatives in the theory of voting. Theory Decis 30:163–186Google Scholar
- Bowen HR (1943) The interpretation of voting in the allocation of economic resources. Q J Econ 58:27–48Google Scholar
- Buchanan J, Tullock G (1962) The calculus of consent. University of Michigan Press, Ann ArborGoogle Scholar
- de Condorcet, MJANC (1785) Essai sur l’Application de l’Analyse à la Probabilité des Décisions Rendues à la Pluralité des Voix. ParisGoogle Scholar
- Heinberg JG (1932) Theories of majority rule. Am Polit Sci Rev 26:452–469Google Scholar
- Larsen JAO (1949) The origin and significance of the counting of votes. Classical Philol 44:164–181Google Scholar
- May KO (1952) A set of independent necessary and sufficient conditions for simple majority decision. Econometrica 20:680–684Google Scholar
- Plott Ch (1967) A notion of equilibrium and its possibility under majority rule. Am Econ Rev 57:787–806Google Scholar
- Polinsky AM (1972) Probabilistic compensation criteria. Q J Econ 86:407–425Google Scholar
- Tideman N (2006) Collective decisions and voting: the potential for public choice. Ashgate, BurlingtonGoogle Scholar