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Review and Preview Motivation Preliminaries Social Choice Conclusion

Introduction to Social Choice Theory:


Condorcets Paradox and the Power of Agenda Setting

Clark, et al. (2009) pp. 355-368

Carlisle Rainey
Florida State University

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Introduction to Social Choice Theory

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Review and Preview Motivation Preliminaries Social Choice Conclusion

Table of Contents
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Review and Preview Motivation and Institutional Design Preliminaries Some Results from Social Choice Theory Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting Conclusion

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Introduction to Social Choice Theory

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Review and Preview Motivation Preliminaries Social Choice Conclusion

Review
Basic Tools of Comparative Politics
Game theory Regression tables

Transitions to Democracy
Economic theories Institutional theories Collective action Incomplete information

Aggregating Preferences in Practice (Elections)


Majoritarian Electoral Systems Proportional Electoral Systems Mixed Electoral Systems

Political Parties
Function and Role Duvergers Law
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Preview

Aggregating Preferences in Theory (Social Choice)


Condorcets Paradox Agenda Setting Arrows Theorem Median Voter Theorem

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Motivation and Institutional Design

One important topic in comparative politics is institutional design. We believe that some outcomes are better than others. Institutional design focuses on how to produce certain outcomes (e.g. stable democracy, higher turnout, more or less policy change) using political institutions. Social choice theory forms the foundation of institutional design. Social choice theory focuses on how to aggregate preferences.

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Preliminaries

Denition sincere voting - voting for ones most preferred option strategic voting - voting for for a less preferred option because it will produce a more preferred outcome

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Rationality
Denition preference ordering - a ranking of possible outcomes (e.g. Snickers Twix Butternger) rational - possess a complete and transitive preference ordering over a set of outcomes complete preference ordering - the actor has a preference between all possible outcomes, either preferring one to the other, or being indierent between the two. transitive preference ordering - if an actor prefers Snickers to Twix, and Twix to Butternger, then that actor must prefer Snickers to Butternger See the text for more formal denitions.
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Round-Robin Tournament
Denition round-robin tournament - each competing alternative is pit against every other alternative in a series of pair-wise votes.
Exercise
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Get into groups of three (or as close as possible). Have a vote between Snickers and Twix - note the groups decision. Repeat for Snickers and Butternger. Repeat for Twix and Butternger. Is everyone in the group rational? Are their preferences complete and transitive? Does one candy bar win against all others? Which?
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Questions
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Review and Preview Motivation Preliminaries Social Choice Conclusion

Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting

Condorcets Paradox

Denition Condorcets Paradox - a group that is composed of individuals with rational preferences does not necessarily have rational preferences as a collectivity; individual rationality is not sucient to ensure group rationality Condorcet winner - an alternative that beats all other options in a series of pair-wise contests

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Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting

An Illustration of the Paradox - Setting Up

Three girls need to decide where to do to dinner together One suggests Applebees (A), another Burger King (B), and the last Churchs Chicken (C) So, of course, they have a pair-wise contest to nd the Condorcet winner. Each girl has complete and transitive preferences.

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Introduction to Social Choice Theory

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Review and Preview Motivation Preliminaries Social Choice Conclusion

Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting

An Illustration of the Paradox - The Contest


Amy has preference ordering A Betty has preference ordering B Carol has preference ordering C Questions
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B C A

C A B

Which restaurant wins the contest between Applebees and Burger King? Applebees and Churchs Chicken? Burger King and Churchs Chicken? Is there a Condorcet winner?
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Review and Preview Motivation Preliminaries Social Choice Conclusion

Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting

The Borda Count: An Alternative

Each individual ranks the outcomes from most to least preferred. Assign points to reect each outcomes ranking (e.g. 3 to highest, 2 to middle, 1 to least preferred). Sum the points for each possible outcome. The outcome with the most points wins. Question: If the girls used the Borda count rather than pair-wise voting, what outcome would win?

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Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting

The Reversal Paradox


Suppose the girls want to include a fourth possible restaurant in the decision process in addition to the other three. Let the new restaurant be Zaxbys (Z). Notice
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It receives a lower score than all the original choices. It is not the rst choice of any girl.

Amy has preference ordering A Betty has preference ordering B Carol has preference ordering C

B C Z

C Z A

Z A B

What is the winner according to the Borda count now?

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Condorcets Paradox The Reversal Paradox Agenda Setting

The Power of Agenda Setting


Suppose that Abby is the most outspoken of the group, and that she can set the agenda. If Abby can have two restaurants voted on rst, and then have the winner face the third outcome, can she get what she wants? In this example, the person who decides an order of voting can get what she wants. This is the power of agenda setting. Example Most legislatures consider amendments to a bill and then vote on the bill. The order in which amendments are voted on have consequences for which other amendments are approved and whether the bill ultimately passes.
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Conclusion

From this lecture and readings, you should be able to answer the following questions:
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Describe what it means to have rational preferences. Find the Condorcet winner and/or determine whether one exists for a given set of preferences. Describe and give an example of Condorcets paradox. Describe and give an example of the reversal paradox. Describe and give and example of the power of agenda setting.

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