In this important new book, Gordon Tullock, a founding father of the public choice school, provides a formal analysis of the foundations of decision making. Voting procedures are crucial to Western democratic governments but are also employed in dictatorial governments, private clubs, corporations and religious organizations. This comprehensive book examines the many techniques of voting and the different outcomes in different situations.
Gordon Tullock's analysis begins by using a simple model in which individuals vote in terms of their own preferences. It is assumed that the voters are well informed, their preferences are reasonably firm and there are no trades or bargains made among voters. These assumptions are then relaxed in order to make the analysis more realistic. Special attention is given to Arrow's work and the idea that people do not always vote according to simple preferences. The author discusses the phenomenon of 'throwing a vote away' or the possibility of an individual voting against their preference if offered something in return. After considering strategic voting, situations where voters engage in trades between one another and the lack of perfect information, Gordon Tullock examines a voter's options and the idea that individuals may rank options in degrees of their preferred outcomes. He also explores the possibility of preferences changing over time, why some issues are put up to vote and others are not, and situations where individuals voting with the same preferences, but in different voting systems, result in different outcomes.
On Voting expands present thinking in the Public Choice school and provides a forum for creating new paradigms in the school as well as changing the focus and scope of current studies. It encourages new research by suggesting areas where more work should be done. The book will be of special interest to political scientists as well as those interested in public policy and political economy.