Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Research Article The Unexpected Empirical Consensus Among Consensus Methods

By Michel Regenwetter, Aeri Kim, Arthur Kantor and Moon-ho R. Ho


ABSTRACT—In economics and political science, the theoretical literature on social choice routinely highlights worst-case scenarios and emphasizes the nonexistence of a universally best voting method. Behavioral social choice is grounded in psychology and tackles consensus methods descriptively and empirically. We analyzed four elections of the American Psychological Association using a state-ofthe-art multimodel, multimethod approach. These elections provide rare access to (likely sincere) preferences of large numbers of decision makers over five choice alternatives. We determined the outcomes according to three classical social choice procedures: Condorcet, Borda, and plurality. Although the literature routinely depicts these procedures as irreconcilable, we found strong statistical support for an unexpected degree of empirical consensus among them in these elections. Our empirical findings stand in contrast to two centuries of pessimistic thought experiments and computer simulations in social choice theory and demonstrate the need for more systematic descriptive and empirical research on social choice than exists to date. Social choice theory has long been dominated by normative, rational choice results from economics and political science. In contrast, behavioral social choice (Regenwetter, Grofman, Marley, & Tsetlin, 2006) is grounded in psychology. It puts social choice theory to the empirical test. As is the case for descriptive theories of individual choice (Tversky & Kahneman, 1974), descriptive theories of social choice may complement, and possibly contrast with, rational theory. Although behaviora

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:
Provided by: CiteSeerX
Download PDF:
Sorry, we are unable to provide the full text but you may find it at the following location(s):
  • (external link)
  • (external link)
  • Suggested articles

    To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.