On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union
Posted: 17 May 2006
We study indirect democracy in which countries, states, or districts each elect a representative who later votes at a union level on their behalf. We show that the voting rule that maximizes the total expected utility of all agents in the union involves assigning a weight to each district's vote and then sticking with the status quo unless at least a threshold of weighted votes is cast for change. We analyze how the weights relate to the population size of a country and the correlation structure of agents' preferences, and then we compare the voting weights in Council of the European Union under the Nice Treaty and the recently proposed constitution.
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