Power and size: A new paradox

Steven J. Brams, Paul J. Affuso

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    An analysis of several different indices of voting power reveals that the voting power of a member of a weighted voting body may increase, rather than decrease, when new members are added to the original body. Real instances of this phenomenon, called the paradox of new members, are shown to have occurred when new states were added to the U.S. Electoral College and new countries to the European Community Council of Ministers. Conditions for the existence of the paradox, and probabilities of its occurrence in small and moderate-size voting bodies, are given. Efficient algorithms for the calculation of the voting power indices, based on generating functions, are also outlined.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)29-56
    Number of pages28
    JournalTheory and Decision
    Issue number1-2
    StatePublished - Feb 1976

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Decision Sciences
    • Developmental and Educational Psychology
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
    • Applied Psychology
    • Computer Science Applications
    • General Social Sciences


    Dive into the research topics of 'Power and size: A new paradox'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this