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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.

Abstract

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.
This paper is not available electronically at the present time. See authors for instructions on receiving it in print
Last updated on Thu, Jun 2, 2005 1:26pm