On the weights of nations: Assigning voting weights in a heterogeneous union

Salvador Barberà, Matthew O. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We study indirect democracy in which countries, states, or districts each elect a representative who later votes at a union level on their behalf. We show that the voting rule that maximizes the total expected utility of all agents in the union involves assigning a weight to each district's vote and then sticking with the status quo unless at least a threshold of weighted votes is cast for change. We analyze how the weights relate to the population size of a country and the correlation structure of agents' preferences, and then we compare the voting weights in the Council of the European Union under the Nice Treaty and the recently proposed Constitution. © 2006 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-339
JournalJournal of Political Economy
Volume114
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2006

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