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Staff Paper No. 375 - Abstract

64% Majority Rule in Ducal Venice: Voting for the Doge

Jay S. Coggins [jcoggins@dept.agecon.umn.edu]
C. Federico Perali

Staff Paper No. 375, April 1994, 16p.


A recent result of Caplin and Nalebuff (1988) demonstrates that, under certain conditions on individual preferences and their distrubtion across society, super-majority rule performs well as a social decision rule. If the required super-majority is chosen appropriately, the rule yields a unique winner and voting cycles cannot occur. The voting procedure for electing a Doge in medieval Venice, developed in 1268, employed a super-majority requirement agreeing with the Caplin and Nalebuff formula. We present a brief history of the Venetian political institutions, show how the rule was employed, and argue that it contributed to the remarkable centuries-long political stability of Venice.
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Last updated on Thu, Jun 2, 2005 1:26pm