Do Condorcet methods encourage the formation of large parties?

I’m pretty new to this forum still, and overall I’ve been very skeptical of Condorcet methods for the most part. But lately I am starting to warm up to them. They have a lot of positive qualities that I didn’t expect or perceive at first.

Still, I think the best way to test an idea is to try to poke holes in it. I’m probably not the most qualified to do so, but I’m just trying my best here by suggesting what I think might possibly be weak spots in the system.

One thing I’ve been thinking about is whether Condorcet systems place natural pressures on voters to form large strategic coalitions over time in order to exploit some of its majoritarian characteristics. Analyzing coalition formation is a very difficult economical problem, but I think it’s something we should be trying to simulate and test out to get a better idea about how these systems would actually fair in large elections over time.

Void of experiments and simulations, in game theoretical terms, what do you guys think? Are Condorcet methods resistant to faction formation, or do they encourage it? What incentives do you see at play and how do you think they would interact? Do you think this is something reasonable to be concerned with? Why or why not?

There’s a lot of stuff on rangevoting.org.

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What are these majoritarian characteristics that can be exploited? Condorcet is not majoritarian by any reasonable definition of “majoritarian” (I don’t understand why you keep labeling it this way). And I don’t see how any characteristic of Condorcet methods that could somehow cause it to be labeled majoritarian could also make it susceptible to gaming.

In my view the whole idea behind choosing the Condorcet winner is to make it hard to game by forming parties or otherwise strategic voting or nomination.

In my opinion the only way to game a Condorcet method has something to do with cases where there might not be a Condorcet winner. And while that may theoretically exist, the fact that it revolves around Condorcet methods not being “purely Condorcet” should tell you something.

I’m glad you are warming up to Condorcet, but why do you keep saying you are skeptical of them? Why not just approach it with a rational open mind rather than continuing to dwell on some vague negative feeling about them?

I’m not trying to be adversarial here, I personally do think I’m both being rational and keeping an open mind. What I am referring to when I say the “majoritarian characteristics” of Condorcet methods can be easily demonstrated in ways that are not contrived. I gave some direct examples, it’s something I can point to and ask questions about. The example I am thinking about now is the voting on a line method I outlined before:

This may not be the best example, but it shouldn’t be difficult to produce a better example where there is a clear “communitarian” winner that would be beaten out by the Condorcet winner in a majoritarian fashion.

My feelings about Condorcet methods aren’t vague, they’re expressly ambivalent, for reasons I’ve articulated. Maybe we can chat about it or I can spend some more time expressing my concerns in clearer language. It’s difficult to elaborate, but the fact that something is a challenge to clarify doesn’t imply that it’s nonsensical.

As far as I can tell, majoritarian systems don’t need to be “gamed” per se, because the game is already “fixed.” Like I said, Condorcet methods are pepperoni and mushrooms all the way down. That doesn’t mean they aren’t effective in many situations, but it makes me skeptical. @Essenzia re-articulated my concern about large faction formation regarding Condorcet methods. In addition there are other strategic problems with Condorcet methods that I think are important to consider, like Favorite Betrayal and DH3, albeit these may be rare in practice.

Independently of all this, my main concern about voting theory is an apparent lack of scientific evidence. I think we need to approach this more along the lines of primatologists/behavioral economists, or at least have a larger facet of that at our disposal. Game theory is very useful, but if we aren’t careful about who or what the players are or what exactly the game is, it can be fairly misleading. I believe coalition formation is generally an important force to consider in the context of elections.

Coalition formation is part of a game theoretical analysis.

I don’t think studying this from a psychological/anthropological perspective is going to be helpful, beyond the basic assumptions of game theory regarding rational self interest. (*) If that were possible, I’d think it would be equally likely that we’d see psychologists and anthropologists becoming extremely wealthy playing the stock market.

  • not that people always act rationally and in their self interest. But that, if a system would be stable if everyone did act rationally and in their self interest, that system will tend to be stable with real humans.

By the way, I think it’s reasonable to refer to Condorcet methods as majoritarian. It’s not the same as the majority criterion, but all Condorcet methods also pass the majority criterion.

Condorcet methods work on the basis of looking at A v B, and if A is preferred by a majority to B, then A beats B, unless a cycle is formed. It doesn’t matter if B gives a higher societal utility.

Condorcet methods work on majorities. It’s their lifeblood, so I think it’s fair to call them majoritarian.

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Yes that’s correct, forgive me, I was referring to non-cooperative game theory. I am trying to address coalition formation, because clearly it’s a major force in general politics, whether that be among a board of directors for a company or among the populace of a democratic society.

As to your point about psychologists and anthropologists, I think it would be more reasonable to look at the people who are successful in the stock market, and then to examine the kinds of reasoning and strategies they tend to employ. My guess is that their rationale would generally fall in line with an intuitive sense or natural understanding of behavioral economics and personal psychology, and obviously a fair deal of luck. Either that or foul play lol.