An Economic Analysis of Democracy

By Randall G. Holcombe | Go to book overview

4 / Coalitions and Stability in Multidimensional Issues

The median voter model may be descriptive of a significant number of decisions made by majority rule, but it is certainly not descriptive of all majority rule decision-making processes. One of the main limitations of the median voter model when applied to more complex political settings is that the individual voter has no interaction with other voters, so that all voters vote strictly according to their preferences on the single issue being considered. Even in the committee variant of the median voter model, each voter has access to the agenda, and so can interact with other voters in that way, but when issues are voted on, all voters are assumed to vote for their most preferred outcome. When a committee is formed to consider only a single issue, this may be realistic, but for committees that consider more issues, vote trading is a common type of political behavior. Voters may not vote strictly according to their preferences on each issue because they have the opportunity to trade away their votes on issues where they do not have intense preferences in exchange for the votes of others on issues where their preferences are more intense. Logrolling and vote trading are the factors that make multidimensional political issues more complex than single-dimensioned issues.

Multidimensionality can be viewed in two ways with regard to political issues. The first way is to look at any particular issue to see if it has more than one dimension in the perception of the

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An Economic Analysis of Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures vii
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Origins of Democracy 15
  • 3 - The Median Voter 38
  • 4 - Coalitions and Stability In Multidimensional Issues 67
  • 5 - Taxes and Redistribution 95
  • 6 - Distributive Government 118
  • 7 - Interest Groups And Distributional Activity 143
  • 8 - The Government Budget Constraint 162
  • 9 - Cycles, Stability, And Economic Efficiency 186
  • 10 - The Growth of Government 208
  • Notes Bibliography Index 231
  • Notes 233
  • Bibliography 257
  • Index 267
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