Constitutional Design and New Collective Decision Rules

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We investigate how democratic constitutions can be designed to achieve an efficient provision of public projects. In particular, we analyze a variety of new types of decision and agenda rules that have been invented by our chair. Examples:

  • Flexible majority rules: the size of the majority needed depends on the proposal made by the agenda setter.
  • Two-stage unanimity rules: in the first stage, voters decide on a broad package of public projects; if the package is rejected, only voting about single projects is allowed.
  • Flexible agenda costs: the costs for agenda-setting depend on the number of supporting votes.
  • Rotating agenda setting and agenda repetition in combination with flexible majority rules.
  • Minority voting: only the losing minority of one period keeps the voting right for the collective decision in the next period.
  • Balanced voting: citizens may abstain from voting on a fundamental direction in a first stage. In a second voting stage, this guarantees them a voting right on the variations of the fundamental direction chosen in the first.
  • Assessment voting: Before the conclusive voting, a given number of randomly-chosen voters cast their votes. Once the results of the first round are published, the initiative group has the possibility to withdraw its proposal.


  • Higher Bars for Incumbents and Experience, Journal of Theoretical Politics, forthcoming, 2016.
    (Hans Gersbach and Markus Müller)
  • Tax Rules, Social Choice and Welfare, 41(1), 2013, 19-42.
    (Hans Gersbach, Volker Hahn and Stephan Imhof)
  • Preferences for Harmony and Minority Voting, Mathematical social sciences, 63(1), 2012, 1-13.
    (Hans Gersbach and Theresa C. Fahrenberger)
  • On the Limits of Democracy, Social Choice and Welfare, 37(2), 2011, 201-217.
    (Hans Gersbach)
  • Minority Voting and Long-term Decisions, Games and Economic Behavior, 69(2), 2010, 329-345.
    (Theresa Fahrenberger and Hans Gersbach)
    Working Paper Version
  • Democratic Mechanisms, Journal of the European Economic Association, 7(6), 2009, 1436-1469.
    (Hans Gersbach)
    Working Paper Version
  • Minority Voting and Public Project Provision, Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal 3, 2009.
    (Hans Gersbach)
  • Flexible Majority Rules for Central Banks, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, 41(2-3), 2009, 507-516.
    (Hans Gersbach and Bernhard Pachl)
  • Dividing Resources by Flexible Majority Rules, Social Choice and Welfare, 23, 2004, 295-308.
    (Hans Gersbach)
    Working Paper Version
  • Why One Person One Vote?, Social Choice and Welfare, 23, 2004, 449-464.
    (Hans Gersbach)
    Working Paper Version
  • Fiscal Constitutions, Constitutional Political Economy, 15(1), 2004, 3-25.
    (Hans Gersbach)
    Working Paper Version

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