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World Political Science

Ed. by Cardinal, Linda

CiteScore 2018: 0.35

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.207
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.349

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

Ulrich Glassmann
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Political Science, University of Cologne, P.O. Box 411020, 50870 Cologne, Germany
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/ Jan Sauermann
Published Online: 2012-09-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wpsr-2012-0008


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.

Keywords: common good; decision costs; laboratory experiment; majority rule; unanimity rule

About the article

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: 2012-09-10

Citation Information: World Political Science, Volume 8, Issue 1, Pages 159–183, ISSN (Online) 2363-4782, ISSN (Print) 2363-4774, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/wpsr-2012-0008.

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