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Voting power measurement: a story of misreinvention

Felsenthal, Dan S. and Machover, Moshé (2005) Voting power measurement: a story of misreinvention. Social Choice and Welfare, 25 (2-3). pp. 485-506. ISSN 0176-1714

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s00355-005-0015-9


In this account of the history of voting-power measurement, we confine ourselves to the concept of a priori voting power. We show how the concept was re-invented several times and how the circumstances in which it was reinvented led to conceptual confusion as to the true meaning of what is being measured. In particular, power-as-influence was conflated with value in the sense of transferable utility cooperative game theory (power as share in constant total payoff). Influence was treated, improperly, as though it were transferable utility, and hence an additive and distributive quantity. We provide examples of the resulting misunderstanding and mis-directed criticism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: The authors gratefully acknowledge that work on this paper was partly supported by the Leverhulme Trust (Grant F/07-004m). Published 2005 © Springer. The original publication is available at
Divisions: CPNSS
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2005
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:25

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