Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine

4 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.252
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.755

CiteScore 2016: 0.48

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.330
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.526

Online
ISSN
1935-1682
See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 2, Issue 1 (Oct 2003)

Issues

Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Forming Voting Blocs and Coalitions as a Prisoner's Dilemma: A Possible Theoretical Explanation for Political Instability

Andrew Gelman
  • 1Department of Statistics, Columbia University,
Published Online: 2003-10-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1538-0645.1185

Abstract

Individuals in a committee or election can increase their voting power by forming coalitions. This behavior is shown here to yield a prisoner's dilemma, in which a subset of voters can increase their power, while reducing average voting power for the electorate as a whole. This is an unusual form of the prisoner's dilemma in that cooperation is the selfish act that hurts the larger group. Under a simple model, the privately optimal coalition size is approximately 1.4 times the square root of the number of voters. When voters' preferences are allowed to differ, coalitions form only if voters are approximately politically balanced. We propose a dynamic view of coalitions, in which groups of voters choose of their own free will to form and disband coalitions, in a continuing struggle to maintain their voting power. This is potentially an endogenous mechanism for political instability, even in a world where individuals' (probabilistic) preferences are fixed and known.

Keywords: coalitions; cooperation; decisive vote; elections; legislatures; prisoner’s dilemma; voting power

About the article

Published Online: 2003-10-28


Citation Information: Contributions in Economic Analysis & Policy, ISSN (Online) 1538-0645, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1538-0645.1185.

Export Citation

©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in