Minority Protection in Voting Mechanisms – Experimental Evidence

51 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2023

See all articles by Dirk Engelmann

Dirk Engelmann

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics; Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic; University of Copenhagen; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Hans Peter Grüner

University of Mannheim

Alex Possajennikov

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Timo Hoffmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg - Department of Economics

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Abstract

Under simple majority voting an absolute majority of voters may choose policies that are harmful to minorities. It is the purpose of sub- and super-majority rules to protect legitimate minority interests. We study how voting rules are chosen under the veil of ignorance. In our experiment, individuals choose voting rules for given distributions of gains and losses that can arise from a policy, but before learning their own valuation of the policy. We find that subjects on average adjust the voting rule in line with the skewness of the distribution. As a result, a higher share of the achievable surplus can be extracted with the suggested rules than with exogenously given simple majority voting. While the rule choices are not significantly biased towards underor overprotection of the minority, towards majority voting or towards status-quo preserving rules, they only imperfectly reflect the distributions of benefits and costs.

Keywords: minority protection, voting, experiments

Suggested Citation

Engelmann, Dirk and Grüner, Hans Peter and Possajennikov, Alex and Hoffmann, Timo, Minority Protection in Voting Mechanisms – Experimental Evidence. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4419051 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4419051

Dirk Engelmann (Contact Author)

Humboldt University of Berlin - School of Business and Economics ( email )

Spandauer Str. 1
Berlin, D-10099
Germany

Economics Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic ( email )

Prague
Czech Republic

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Hans Peter Grüner

University of Mannheim ( email )

Universitaetsbibliothek Mannheim
Zeitschriftenabteilung
Mannheim, 68131
Germany

Alex Possajennikov

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/~lezap/

Timo Hoffmann

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg-Friedrich Alexander Universität Erlangen Nürnberg - Department of Economics ( email )

Lange Gasse 20
Nuernberg, D-90403
Germany

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