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Optimal Majorities for Decisions of Varying Importance

Bengt-Arne Wickström
Public Choice
Vol. 48, No. 3 (1986), pp. 273-290
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30024604
Page Count: 18
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Optimal Majorities for Decisions of Varying Importance
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Abstract

It is argued that the theory of the optimal majority for public decision making in its standard formulation is insufficient as a tool to analyze the relationship between different optimal majorities for different kinds of decisions. The theory is reformulated and conditions for optimal majorities for different types of decisions are derived. It is demonstrated how different properties of the sets of potential public projects influence the size of the optimal majority. It is shown that the commonly postulated property that important decisions require a larger majority than less important ones, critically depends on assumptions of risk aversion on the individuals choosing the optimal majority.

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