Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Simple Majority

  • Silvia FedeliEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_441


Simple majority (SM) is a voting system whereby the highest number of votes for one alternative within those under decision designates the winner. It may refer to a voting requirement of half of either all ballots cast or those voting on the given alternative plus one and also to the highest number of votes cast for any one alternative, while not constituting a majority.

Whenever a collective decision has to be taken, SM seems the natural way to reach a solution.

Various reasons for SM’s wide use have been given in the literature. May (1952), studying the issue of the relation between group choice and individual preferences in the presence of two alternatives, showed that SM is always: decisive (each set of individual preferences leads to a defined/unique group choice), egalitarian (interchanging any two preferences of the voters, the result is unchanged, which implies anonymity/equality of voters), neutral (it does not favor either alternative), and positively responsive...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics and LawSapienza - University of RomeRomeItaly