"Recent Results in the Mathematics of Political Power"
September 16, 1997
Bailey Hall 201
Refreshments at 3:45
Math Department Common Room
In democracies, elected representatives typically vote "yes" or "no" on proposed legislation, constitutional changes, etc. The voting systems range from simple majority rule, to weighted versions in which legislators from more populous districts cast more votes, to complex bicameral systems with presidential vetoes and veto overrides, such as the US federal system. Designers of such a system must be able to test whether the actual difference in influence among legislators came out the way they intended. The traditional approach is to use a mathematical "voting power index," but the known indices differ sharply from each other. Can the issue be resolved? Some recent results indicate promising lines of research for the future.
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