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Penrose’s square-root rule and the EU Council of Ministers: significance of the quota

Machover, M. (2007) Penrose’s square-root rule and the EU Council of Ministers: significance of the quota. In: Distribution of power and voting procedures in the EU, 12-13 October 2007, European Centre Natolin, Warsaw, Poland. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

In a two-tier decision-making system such as the EU Council of Ministers, if the number of constituencies (member-states) is sufficiently large (say, 15 or more), Penrose’s Square-Root rule can be implemented to a high level of approximation by a simple weighted decision rule at the top level (the Council) with any given quota q smaller than the total weight. This leaves one degree of freedom: the value of q as a free parameter, to be determined by some additional condition. I propose to survey and discuss critically the most important considerations for fixing this value – some of which have actually been used by theoreticians or practitioners: efficiency, transparency, sensitivity (total voting power of citizens), mean majority deficit, giving certain ‘privileged’ coalitions blocking status. Some of these considerations are reasonably compatible; others less so. Some kind of compromise is clearly needed. But which? This is essentially a political matter; but a political decision ought to be made in a theoretically enlightened way.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: © 2007 M. Machover
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2007
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/2857/

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