Felsenthal, Dan S. and Machover, Moshé
Homo oeconomicus, 17
In the voting-power literature the rules of decision of the US Congress and the UN Security Council are widely misreported as though abstention amounts to a `no' vote. The hypothesis (proposed elsewhere) that this is due to a specific cause, theory-laden observation, is tested here by examining accounts of these rules in introductory textbooks on American Government and International Relations, where that putative cause does not apply. Our examination does not lead to a conclusive outcome regarding the hypothesis, but reveals that the rules in question are also widely misreported in these textbooks. A second hypothesis---that the widespread misreporting is explicable by the relative rarity and unimportance of abstention in the two bodies concerned---is also tested and found to be untenable.
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