№ 4, 2018
The theory of voting has largely developed independently of the mechanism design research, but with the introduction of the concept of strategic voting the two traditions found a common ground. This happened some fifty years ago. Yet, despite the voluminous literature that has emerged since then, the impact of voting theory on the design of political institutions remains marginal. Often the assumptions are deemed too simplistic or too abstract or plainly “out of this world”. It looks as if there is a demand for research that aims at building bridges over the wide gap that exists between the abstract social choice results and the behavioral-institutional realities characterizing political systems of today and tomorrow. We illustrate the applicability problems by discussing a relatively recent proposal for electoral reform of the single-member constituency system in electing the members for the House of Representatives in the United States. The proposed reform would seem to solve a major flaw in the existing system. As is often the case, this comes with a price, though: the proposal is plagued with problems of its own. However, the voting theory results have a wide area of applicability beyond voting. Yet the applicability of the voting theory results in these areas have remained largely unexplored. This article aims at suggesting some applications. Most straightforward ones pertain to multiple criteria decision making.
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