Title : Gordon Tullock on Majority Voting: the Making of a Conviction
Author(s) : Julien Grandjean
Abstract : This paper participates in the formation of the history of public choice theory. In particular, it will focus on the role of Gordon Tullock and the analysis of the simple majority decision-making process promoted in the famous Calculus of Consent, written along with James M. Buchanan. This paper shows that Tullock has already think about the issue of majority voting prior to the writing of his common book with Buchanan. Between 1959 and 1961 in particular, while Tullock was a postdoctoral fellow at the Thomas Jefferson Center for Studies in Political Economy and Social Philosophy at the University of Virginia and later Assistant Professor in the Department of International Studies at the University of South Carolina, he had an interesting interaction with Anthony Downs about majority decision-making process in a democracy. This interaction that consists in a correspondence between Tullock, Downs and their editors can be found for a part in the Gordon Tullock papers of the Hoover Institution Archives. It gave birth to some major articles by the two authors such as The Problem of Majority Voting by Tullock in 1959, Why the Government Budget is Too Small in a Democracy by Downs in 1960, Problems of Majority Voting: In Defense of Majority Voting by Downs and Problems of Majority Voting: Reply to a Traditionalist by Tullock in 1961. Our purpose is to highlight the interaction that forms the basis of these publications and shows the way Tullock matured his view about the majoritarian rule – one of the cornerstones of the public choice theory – at this time.
Key-words : Gordon Tullock, Anthony Downs, public choice, majority voting, logrolling, unanimity.
JEL Classification : B21, B31, D72