The responsiveness of approval voting: Comments on Saari and Van Newenhizen

Steven J. Brams, Peter C. Fishburn, Samuel Merrill

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Saari and Van Newenhizen (1987) misinterpret their findings about the indeterminacy of voting systems: far from being a vice, indeterminacy is a virtue in allowing voters to be more responsive to, and robbing them of the incentive to misrepresent, their preferences. The responsiveness of approval voting, in particular, means that the cardinal utilities that voters have for candidates can be reflected in voters' strategy choices, which ultimately translate into better social choices. Empirical data from a recent election support these claims, showing, among other things, that the Borda system, a determinate voting system favored by Saari and Van Newenhizen, is highly vulnerable to manipulation by strategic voters.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)121-131
    Number of pages11
    JournalPublic Choice
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Nov 1988

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Economics and Econometrics


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