uclogo.gif Economics 309. Social Choice and Voting Models

Course description: The course begins with an introduction to fundamental results of social choice theory, including impossibility theorems and majority-rule tournaments. We then study game-theoretic models of turnout and information-aggregation in two-candidate elections, multi-candidate voting under different voting rules, and post-electoral bargaining among elected representatives.
Winter 2001: Tues,Thurs 12:00-1:20 pm in SS 105. Instructor: Roger Myerson.

Principal recommended texts:
R. Myerson, "Foundations of social choice theory" Northwestern DP (1996) available at http://www.kellogg.nwu.edu/faculty/myerson/research/1162.pdf
[ASB]:  D. Austen-Smith and J. S. Banks, Positive Political Theory I, UMichigan Press (1999).
[PT]:  T. Persson and G. Tabellini, Political Economics, MIT Press (2000).

Other texts:
[M]:  H. Moulin, Axioms of Cooperative Decision Making, Cambridge (1988).
[R]:  W.H. Riker, Liberalism against Populism, W. H. Freeman (1982).
R. Myerson, "Large Poisson games," Journal of Economic Theory 94 (2000), 7-45.
R. Myerson, "Comparison of scoring rules in Poisson voting games," Northwestern DP#1214 (2000).
Computational models in Excel: LEDYARD.XLS, SWING.XLS.

Course outline and readings:

I. Fundamentals of social choice theory

A. Foundations of political institutions
Myerson "Foundations" section 1.1.
R. Hardin, "Why a Constitution," in The Federalist Papers and the New Institutionalism, Bernard Grofman and Donald Wittman, eds., NY: Agathon Press (1989), p. 100-119.

B. Impossibility of ideal social choice function
Myerson "Foundations" sections 1.2, 1.3.
[ASB] chapter 2.
[M] sections 10.1, 10.5, 11.2, 11.5-7.
K. J. Arrow, Social Choice and Individual Values, Wiley, 1951.
Amartya K. Sen, Collective Choice and Social Welfare, Holden-Day, 1970.
A. Gibbard, "Manipulation of voting rules: a general result," Econometrica 41, 1973.
M. A. Satterthwaite, "Strategy-proofness and Arrow's conditions," Journal of Economic Theory 10, 1975.
A. Gibbard, "Straightforwardness of game forms with lotteries as outcomes," Econometrica 46 (1978).
E. Muller and M. Satterthwaite, "The equivalence of strong positive association and strategy-proofness," Journal of Economic Theory 14 (1977), 412-418.
E. Maskin, "The theory of implementation in Nash equilibrium: a survey," in L. Hurwicz, D. Schmeidler, and H. Sonnenschein eds., Social Goals and Social Organization, Cambridge U. Press (1985).
D. Abreu and A. Sen, "Virtual implementation in Nash equilibrium," Econometrica 59 (1991).
J. Moore, "Implementation in Environments with Complete Information," in Advances in Economic Theory: Proceedings of the 6th World Congress of the Econometric Society, J.-J.Laffont ed., Cambridge U. Press (1992).
M. Jackson, "Implementation in undominated strategies: a look at bounded mechanisms," Review of Economic Studies 59 (1992) 757-775.
J. C. Harsanyi, "Cardinal welfare, individualistic ethics, and interpersonal comparisons of utility," Journal of Political Economy 63 (1955). 

C. Majority rule
[ASB] chapter 3
K. O. May, "A set of independent necessary and sufficient conditions for simple majority decision," Econometrica 20, 1952.
D. C. McGarvey, "A theorem in the construction of voting paradoxes," Econometrica 21, 1953.

D. Binary agendas
Myerson "Foundations" section 1.4
[M], section 9.4
R. McKelvey and R. Niemi, "A multistage game representation of sophisticated voting for binary procedures," Journal of Economic Theory 18 (1978), 1-22.
R. Farquharson, Theory of Voting, Yale, 1969.
B. Sloth, "The theory of voting and equilibria in noncooperative games," Games and Economic Behavior 5 (1993), 152-169.

E. Top cycle
Myerson "Foundations" section 1.5
[ASB] chapter 6.
N. Miller, "Graph theoretical approaches to the theory of voting," American Journal of Political Science 21, 1977.
R. B. Myerson, Game Theory, Section 4.10.
R. McKelvey, "Intransitivities in multidimensional voting models and some implications for agenda control," Journal of Economic Theory 12, 1976.
R. D. McKelvey, "General conditions for global intransitivities in formal voting models," Econometrica 47, 1979.

F. The uncovered set and Banks set for tournaments
[M], pages 246-7 and 254-5, and sections 9.1 and 9.2.
J. F. Laslier, Tournament Solutions and Majority Voting, Springer-Verlag (1997).
N. Miller, "A new solution set for tournaments and majority voting," American Journal of Political Science 24, 1980 (erratum 1983).
K. Shepsle and B. Weingast, "Uncovered sets and sophisticated voting outcomes, with implications for agenda institutions," American Journal of Political Science 28, 1984.
J. Banks, "Sophisticated voting outcomes and agenda control," Social Choice and Welfare 1, 1985.
H. Moulin, "Choosing from a tournament," Social Choice and Welfare 3, 1986

G. Axiomatic derivation of scoring rules for multicandidate elections
[M], Sections 9.1 and 9.3
R. Myerson, "Axiomatic Derivation of Scoring Rules without the Ordering Assumption," Social Choice and Welfare 12 (1995), 59-74.
H. P. Young, "Social choice scoring functions," SIAM Journal of Applied Mathematics 28, 1975.
J. Smith, "Aggregation of preferences with a variable electorate," Econometrica 41, 1973.

II. Elections with two alternatives

A. Two-party competition in tournaments.
Myerson "Foundations" section 1.6
R. McKelvey, "Covering, dominance, and institution-free properties of social choice," American Journal of Political Science 30, 1986.
David C. Fisher and Jennifer Ryan, "Optimal strategies for a generalized 'scissors, paper, and stone' game," American Mathematical Monthly 99 (1992), 935-942.
G. Laffond, J.F. Laslier, and M. Le Breton, "The bipartisan set of a tournament game," Games and Economic Behavior 5 (1993), 182-201.

B. Median voter theorems
Myerson "Foundations" section 1.7
[ASB] chapter 4.
H. Hotelling, "Stability in competition," Economic Journal 39 (1929), 41-57.
C. D'Aspremont, J.-J. Gabszewicz, and J.-F. Thisse, "On Hotelling's 'Stability in Competition,'" Econometrica 47 (1979), 1145-1150.
J. S. Gans and M. Smart, "Majority voting with Single-Crossing Preferences," Stanford University discussion paper, 1994.

C. Two-candidate competition in Euclidean policy space
[ASB] chapter 5.
Black, Theory of Committees and Elections, chapter 4.
O. Gross and R. Wagner, "A continuous Colonel Blotto game," RAND Research Memorandum RM-408 (1950), Santa Monica, CA.
"Example IV.6.3" in G. Owen, Game Theory, Academic Press (1982), 78-83.
G. Kramer, "A dynamical model of political equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory 16 (1977), 310-334.

C. Supermajority voting with a status quo
[M], Sections 10.3, 10.4, 11.4
A. Caplin and B. Nalebuff, "On 64% majority rule," Econometrica 56, 1988;
and "Aggregation and social choice: a mean voter theorem," Econometrica 59, 1991.

D. Costly voting
R. Myerson, "Population uncertainty and Poisson games" International Journal of Game Theory 27 (1998), 375-392.
R. Myerson, "Large Poisson games," Journal of Economic Theory 94 (2000), 7-45.
T. R. Palfrey and H. Rosenthal, "A strategic calculus of voting," Public Choice 41, 1983.
T. R. Palfrey and H. Rosenthal, "Voter participation and strategic uncertainty," American Political Science Review 79, 1985.
J. Ledyard, "The pure theory of large two-candidate elections," Public Choice 44 (1984), 7-41.
C. J. Uhlaner, "Rational turnout: the neglected role of groups," American Journal of Political Science 33 (1989), 390-422.

E. Private information and the Condorcet jury theorem
D. Austen-Smith and J. Banks, "Information aggregation, rationality, and the Condorcet jury theorem," American Political Science Review 90:34-45 (1996).
T. Feddersen and W. Pesendorfer, "The Swing Voter's Curse," American Economic Review 86 (1996), 408-424; and Voting behavior and information aggregation in elections with private information," Econometrica 65 (1997), 1029-1058.
R. Myerson, "Extended Poisson games and the Condorcet jury theorem," Games and Economic Behavior 25 (1998), 111-131.
E. Dekel and M. Piccione, "Sequential voting," Journal of Political Economy 108 (2000), 34-55.
H. P. Young, "Condorcet's theory of voting," APSR 82 (1988), 1231-1244.
S. Lohmann, "Electoral incentives, political transparency, and the policy bias toward special interests," APSR 92 (Dec 1998).
R. Myerson, "Informational origins of political bias towards critical groups of voters," European Economic Review 43 (1999), 767-778.

III. Multiparty competition.
R. Myerson, "Analysis of Democratic Institutions: Structure, Conduct, and Perfomance," Journal of Economic Perspectives 9:1 (1995), 77-89.
R. Myerson, "Economic analysis of political institutions: an introduction,"in Advances in Economic Theory and Econometrics: Theory and Applications, volume 1, edited by D. Kreps and K. Wallis (Cambridge University Press, 1997), pages 46-65.
R. Myerson, "Theoretical comparisons of electoral systems," European Economic Review 43 (1999), 671-697.

A. Policy competition with a fixed number of parties.
K. Shepsle, Models of Multiparty Competition, Harwood (1991), Parts I and II.
R. Myerson and R. Weber, "A theory of voting equilibria," American Political Science Review 87 (1993) 102-114.
D. Rae, V. Hanby, J. Loosemore, "Thresholds of representation and thresholds of exclusion," Comparative Political Studies 3 (1971), 479-488.
G. Cox, "Electoral equilibrium under alternative voting institutions," American Journal of Political Science 31 (1987), 82-108.
G. Cox, "Centripital and centrifugal incentives in electoral systems," American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990), 903-935.
R. Myerson, "Incentives to cultivate favored minorities under alternative electoral systems," American Political Science Review 87 (1993), 856-869.
R. Myerson, "Comparison of scoring rules in Poisson voting games," Northwestern DP#1214 (2000).

B. Competition with entry.
K. Shepsle, Models of Multiparty Competition, Harwood (1991), Parts III and IV.
T. J. Feddersen, I. Sened, and S. G. Wright, "Rational voting and candidate entry under plurality rule," American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990), 1005-1016.
M. Osborne, "Candidate positioning and entry in a political competition," Games and Economic Behavior 5 (1993), 133-151.
W. H. Riker, "The two-party system and Duverger's law," American Political Science Review 76 (1982), 753-766.
T. R. Palfrey, "A mathematical proof of Duverger's law," in Models of Strategic Choice in Politics, ed. by P. C. Ordeshook, University of Michigan Press (1989), 69-91.
T. Feddersen "A Voting Model implying Duverger's Law and Positive Turnout," American Journal of Political Science 36, 938-962 (1992).
G. Cox, "Strategic Voting Equilibria under SNTV: the M+1 rule," UCSD (1992).
S. R. Reed, "Structure and behavior: extending Duverger's law to the Japanese case," British J. of Political Science 20 (1990), 335-356.
A. Lijphart, "The political consequences of electoral laws, 1945-1985," American Political Science Review 84 (1990), 481-496.
J. Carey and M. Shugart, "Incentives to Cultivate a Personal Vote: A Rank Ordering of Electoral Formulas," Electoral Studies 14 (1995).
M. J. Osborne, "Spatial models of political competition under plurality rule: a survey of some explanations of the number of candidates and the positions they take," Canadian Journal of Economics 28 (1995), 260-301.
M. J. Osborne and A. Slivinski, "A Model of political competition with citizen-candidates," Quarterly Journal of Economics 111 (1996), 65-96.
T. Besley and S. Coate, "An economic model of representative democracy," Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (1997), 85-114.

C. Electoral deterrents against abuse of power
Riker, Liberalism against Populism, chapters 1 and 10.
R. Myerson, "Effectiveness of electoral systems for reducing government corruption," Games and Economic Behavior 5 (1993), 118-132.
R. Myerson "Proportional representation, approval voting, and coalitionally straightforward elections," in Political Economy: Institutions, Competition, and Representation, edited by W. Barnett, M. Hinich, and N. Schofield, Cambridge U. Press (1993).
J. S. Banks and R. K. Sundaram, "Adverse selection and moral hazard in a repeated elections model," in Barnett, Hinich, and Schofield, eds., Political Economy (1993).
D. Austen-Smith and J. Banks, "Electoral accountability and incumbency," in P. Ordeshook, ed., Models of Strategic Choice in Politics, U. of Michigan Press (1989), 121-148.
J. Ferejohn, "Incumbent performance and electoral control," Public Choice 50 (1986), 5-25.
S. Rose-Ackerman, Corruption and Government (Cambridge U. Press, 1999).

D. Campaign contributions
R. Morton and C. Cameron, "Elections and the theory of campaign contributions: a survey and critical analysis," Economics and Politics 4 (1992), 70-108.
J. M. Snyder, "Campaign contributions as investment," Journal of Political Economy 98 (1990), 1195-1227.
G. M. Grossman and E. Helpman, "Electoral competition and special interest politics," Review of Economic Studies (1996).
R. Morton and R. Myerson, "Decisiveness of Contributors' Perceptions in Elections," Northwestern DP 1023 (1992).

IV. Legislatures and separation of powers

A. Measures of bargaining power
D. P. Baron and J. Ferejohn, "Bargaining in legislatures," American Political Science Review 83 (1989), 1181-1206.
T. Groseclose and J. Snyder, "Buying supermajorities," American Political Science Review 90 (1996), 303-315.
L. Shapley and M. Shubik, "A method for evaluating the distribution of power in a committee system," American Political Science Review 48 (1954), 787-792.

B. Strategic voting and coalition formation in legislatures
D. Austen-Smith and J. Banks, "Elections, coalitions, and legislative outcomes," American Political Science Review 82 (1988), 405-422.
M. Laver and N. Schofield, Multiparty Government: The Politics of Coalition Formation in Europe, Oxford University Press (1990).
G. Cox, The Efficient Secret, Cambridge U. Press, (1987).
M. Laver and K. Shepsle, Making and Breaking Governments Cambridge (1997?).
D. Baron, "A Noncooperative Theory of Legislative Coalitions," American Journal of Political Science 33 (1989), 1048-1084.
B. Peleg, "Coalition formation with dominant players," International Journal of Game Theory 10, (1981) 11-33.
D. Diermeier and T. J. Feddersen, "Voting cohesion in presidential and parliamentary legislatures," American Political Science Review 92 (1998), 611-621.
V. V. Chari, L. E. Jones, and R. Marimon, "The economics of split voting in representative democracies," American Economic Review 87 (1997), 957-976.
M. S. Shugart and J. M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies, Cambridge U. Press (1992).

C. Subcommittees and specialization in legislatures
K. A. Shepsle, "Institutional arrangements and equilibrium in multidimensional voting models," American Journal of Political Science 23 (1979), 27-59.
B. R. Weingast and W. J. Marshall, "The industrial organization of congress" Journal of Political Economy 96 (1988), 132-163.
T. W. Gilligan and K. Krehbiel, "Organization of Informative Committees by a Rational Legislature," American Journal of Political Science 34 (1990), 531-564.
R. D. McKelvey and R. Riezman, "Seniority in legislatures," American Political Science Review 86 (1992), 951-965.
D. Diermeier and R. Myerson, "Bicameralism and its consequences for the internal organization of legislatures" American Economic Review 89 (1999), 1182-1196.
M. Laver and K. Shepsle, Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentary Government, Cambridge (1994).
J. Huber, "Restrictive legislative procedures in France and the United States," APSR 86 (1992), 675-687.

D. Legislative electoral formulas
R. Taagepera and M. S. Shugart, Seats and Votes, Yale (1989).
M. L. Balinski and H. P. Young, Fair Representation, Yale (1982).
A. Lijphart, Electoral Systems and Party Systems Oxford (1994).

URL of this course page: http://home.uchicago.edu/~rmyerson/econ309.htm