Power Indices in Large Voting Bodies

There is no consensus on the properties of voting power indices when there are a large number of voters in a weighted voting body. On the one hand, in some real-world cases that have been studied the power indices have been found to be nearly proportional to the weights (eg the EUCM, US Electoral College). This is true for both the PenroseBanzhaf and the Shapley-Shubik indices. It has been suggested that this is a manifestation of a conjecture by Penrose (known subsequently as the Penrose limit theorem, that has been shown to hold under certain conditions). On the other hand, we have the older literature from cooperative game theory, due to Shapley and his collaborators, showing that, where there are a finite number of voters whose weights remain constant in relative terms, and where the quota remains constant in relative terms, while the total number of voters increases without limit - so called oceanic games - the powers of the voters with finite weight tend to limiting values that are, in general, not proportional to the weights. These results, too, are supported by empirical studies of large voting bodies (eg. the IMF/WB boards, corporate shareholder control). This paper proposes a restatement of the Penrose Limit theorem and shows that, for both the power indices, convergence occurs in general, in the limit as the Laakso-Taagepera index of political fragmentation increases. This new version reconciles the different theoretical and empirical results that have been found for large voting bodies.


Issue Date:
2010-10
Publication Type:
Working or Discussion Paper
DOI and Other Identifiers:
Record Identifier:
https://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/270996
Language:
English
Total Pages:
24
Series Statement:
WERP 942




 Record created 2018-04-09, last modified 2020-10-28

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