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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 10, 2012

Decision Costs and Welfare Effects of Democratic Voting Rules: an Experimental Analysis

Ulrich Glassmann and Jan Sauermann
From the journal World Political Science


What impact do majority rule and unanimity rule have on welfare and decision costs? According to Buchanan and Tullock ([1962] 1999) the unanimity principle must be regarded as a democratic norm, because it guarantees Pareto-efficient welfare effects. We present experimental results from a public goods game, which demonstrate in contrast to this assumption that majority rule can produce greater welfare effects than unanimity rule. This result suggests a critical revision of theoretical approaches which narrow the legiti­macy of majority rule in this respect.

Corresponding author: Ulrich Glassmann, Department of Political Science, University of Cologne, P.O. Box 411020, 50870 Cologne, Germany, Phone: +49 221 470 2853, Fax: +49 221 470 7447

Published Online: 2012-9-10

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston