On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union

Posted: 17 May 2006

See all articles by Salvador Barberà

Salvador Barberà

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Matthew O. Jackson

Stanford University - Department of Economics; Santa Fe Institute; Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR)

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Barberà Sàndez, Salvador and Jackson, Matthew O., On the Weights of Nations: Assigning Voting Weights in a Heterogeneous Union. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 114, pp. 317-339, April 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=901841

Salvador Barberà Sàndez

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ( email )

Edifici B - Campus Bellaterra
Barcelona, 08193
Spain

Matthew O. Jackson (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

Landau Economics Building
579 Serra Mall
Stanford, CA 94305-6072
United States
1-650-723-3544 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jacksonm

Santa Fe Institute

1399 Hyde Park Road
Santa Fe, NM 87501
United States

Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) ( email )

180 Dundas Street West, Suite 1400
Toronto, Ontario
Canada

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