The Condorcet paradox revisited

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Working paper
P. Jean-Jacques Herings and Harold Houba
Issue number: 
Maastricht University
We analyze the Condorcet paradox within a strategic bargaining model with majority voting, exogenous recognition probabilities, and no discounting. Stationary subgame perfect equilibria (SSPE) exist whenever the geometric mean of the players' risk coefficients, ratios of utility differences between alternatives, is at most one. SSPEs ensure agreement within finite expected time. For generic parameter values, SSPEs are unique and exclude Condorcet cycles. In an SSPE, at least two players propose their best alternative and at most one player proposes his middle alternative with positive probability. Players never reject best alternatives, may reject middle alternatives with positive probability, and reject worst alternatives. Recognition probabilities represent bargaining power and drive expected delay. Irrespective of utilities, no delay occurs for suitable distributions of bargaining power, whereas expected delay goes to infinity in the limit where one player holds all bargaining power. Contrary to the case with unanimous approval, a player benefits from an increase in his risk aversion.
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