A Search for the General Will in a Spatial Model

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Abstract

In Book IV, Chapter II of The Social Contract, Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that the nearer opinion approaches unanimity in an assembly, the greater is the dominance of the general will. The present study revisits this classical argument in a one-dimensional spatial model with variable agendas. The study obtains a sufficient condition under which the Borda winner and the Condorcet winner almost coincide so that we can unambiguously find an alternative that conforms to the general will. This condition describes the existence of certain sympathy among voters on the evaluation of alternatives, and it is much weaker than the unanimity requirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-270
Number of pages11
JournalJapanese Economic Review
Volume66
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jun 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics

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