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Is Rule by Majorities Special?

Ward, H and Weale, A (2010) 'Is Rule by Majorities Special?' Political Studies, 58 (1). pp. 26-46. ISSN 0032-3217

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One way of making decisions is for political associates or their representatives to vote on each issue separately in accordance with the majority principle and then take the cumulative outcomes of such majority decision making to define the collective choice for public policy. We call such a system one of majorities rule. Thought of in spatial terms, majorities rule is equivalent to the principle of making decisions according to the issue-by-issue median of voter preferences. If popular control and political equality are core democratic values, they can be rendered as requirements on a collective choice rule, involving resoluteness, anonymity, strategy-proofness and responsiveness. These requirements entail that the collective decision rule be a percentile method. If we then add a requirement of impartiality, as exhibited in a collective choice rule which would be chosen behind a veil of ignorance, then the issue-by-issue median is uniquely identified as a fair rule. Hence, majorities rule is special. Some objections to this line of reasoning are considered.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2013 01:40
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 01:08

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