On the Optimal Majority Rule

25 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2017

See all articles by Olivier Compte

Olivier Compte

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS)

Philippe Jehiel

University College London - Department of Economics; Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: December 2017

Abstract

We develop a simple model that rationalizes why less stringent majority rules are preferable to unanimity in large committees. Proposals are randomly generated and the running proposal is adopted whenever it is approved by a sufficiently large share of voters. Unanimity induces excessive delays while too weak majority requirements induce the adoption of suboptimal proposals. The optimal majority rule balances these two inefficiencies: it requires the approval by a share equal to the probability (assumed to be constant across proposals) that a given member gets more than the average welfare associated with the running proposal. Various extensions are considered.

Suggested Citation

Compte, Olivier and Jehiel, Philippe, On the Optimal Majority Rule (December 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP12492, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3086150

Olivier Compte (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS) ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Peres
75007 Paris
France

Philippe Jehiel

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (ENPC) - Centre d'Enseignement et de Recherche en Analyse Socio-Economique (CERAS) ( email )

28, rue des Saints-Peres
75007 Paris
France
+33 1 4458 2873 (Phone)
+33 1 4458 2880 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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