Rubber bands, pulleys, and decisiveness in the theory of voting
Bill Zwicker, Ronghua Dai, Ari Morse
Union College and Skidmore College
May 12, 2008
Bailey Hall 207
Refreshments will be served at 4:00 in Bailey 207
Suppose we wish to compare several voting rules in order to decide which is “best.” We might consider criteria such as:
- Expressiveness Does a ballot convey information about a voter’s preferences among all candidates, or does it only identify the single, most favored candidate?
- Manipulability How easy is it for a voter to obtain a preferred election outcome by deliberately misrepresenting her preferences?
- Decisiveness How often does the rule result in a unique winning candidate, as opposed to a tie?
Decisiveness has been relatively understudied. We argue that it is an important property in its own right, and it is also crucial to consider the effect of decisiveness on attempts to measure manipulability. This summer Dai and Morse studied the decisiveness of two closely related voting rules, one based on the mean, and the other on the median. What does any of this have to do with pulleys or rubber bands? You’ll find out if you come to the
talk . . .
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