Marschak Colloquium with Melissa Schwartzberg
DateJanuary 8, 2015
Young Research Library, Conference Room 11360
Presenter:Melissa Schwartzberg, New York University PoliticsHost:Giulia Sissa, UCLA Political Science & ClassicsTitle: “Counting the Many: The Origins and Limits of Supermajority Rule”Abstract:Supermajority rules govern many features of our lives in common: from the selection of textbooks for our children’s schools to residential covenants, from the policy choices of state and federal legislatures to constitutional amendments. It is usually assumed that these rules are not only normatively unproblematic, but necessary to achieve the goals of institutional stability, consensus, and minority protections. Professor Schwartzberg challenges the logic underlying the use of supermajority rule as an alternative to majority decision-making. She traces the hidden history of supermajority decision-making, which originally emerged as an alternative to unanimity rule, and highlights the tensions in the contemporary use of supermajority rules as an alternative to majority rule. Although supermajority rules ostensibly aim to reduce the purported risks associated with majority decision-making, they do so at the cost of introducing new liabilities associated with the biased judgments they generate and secure.The Jacob Marschak Interdisciplinary Colloquium on Mathematics in the Behavioral Sciences at UCLA.
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