The Case for Utilitarian Voting
Discussion Papers in Economics from University of Munich, Department of Economics
Utilitarian voting (UV) is defined in this paper as any voting rule that allows the voter to rank all of the alternatives by means of the scores permitted under a given voting scale. Specific UV rules that have been proposed are approval voting, allowing the scores 0, 1; range voting, allowing all numbers in an interval as scores; evaluative voting, allowing the scores -1, 0, 1. The paper deals extensively with Arrow’s impossibility theorem that has been interpreted as precluding a satisfactory voting mechanism. I challenge the relevance of the ordinal framework in which that theorem is expressed and argue that instead utilitarian, i.e. cardinal social choice theory is relevant for voting. I show that justifications of both utilitarian social choice and of majority rule can be modified to derive UV. The most elementary derivation of UV is based on the view that no justification exists for restricting voters’ freedom to rank the alternatives on a given scale.
Keywords: approval voting; Arrow’s impossibility theorem; cardinal collective choice; evaluative voting; majority rule; range voting; utilitarian voting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D71 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-dcm and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (32) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
Journal Article: The Case for Utilitarian Voting (2005)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:lmu:muenec:653
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Discussion Papers in Economics from University of Munich, Department of Economics Ludwigstr. 28, 80539 Munich, Germany. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Tamilla Benkelberg ().