Which Majority Should Rule? - Daniel Wodak (UPenn)

Speaker: Daniel Wodak

Abstract: When voters are divided into districts, 'election inversions’ are possible: the party that wins a majority of the votes overall may not win the majority of districts. So which majority should rule? There's no consensus about what majority rules requires in such contexts. I argue that majority rules requires that the party that governs is the one that won the most votes, even if it did not win the most districts. First, I show that the best arguments for majority rules support this view and oppose its rivals. Second, I show that rivals to majority rules generate problems in practice, some of which are familiar (gerrymandering and malapportionment), but one of which is novel (non-monotonicity). Finally, I argue that the best argument for rival views, which turns on a principle about democratic representation, fails. If I’m right, there’s a clear majoritarian case for reforming all district-based democratic systems. 

Please note that these seminars are open to the public and in person only.

Date & time

Thu 13 Oct 2022, 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Auditorium, Level 1, RSSS building, 146 Ellery Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601


Daniel Wodak (UPenn)


Sarita Rosenstock


Updated:  26 September 2022/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications