Formation of Parties and Coalitions in Multiple Referendums

Meir Kalech, Moshe Koppel, Abraham Diskin, Eli Rohn, Inbal Roshanski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider a thought experiment in which voters could submit binary preferences regarding each of a pre-determined list of independent relevant issues, so that majorities could be tallied per issue. It might be thought that if such voting became technically feasible and widespread, parties and coalitions could be circumvented altogether and would become irrelevant. In this paper, we show, however, why and how voters would spontaneously self-organize into parties, and parties would self-organize into coalitions, prior to elections. We will see that such coordination is possible, even assuming very limited capabilities of communication and coordination. Using both analytical and empirical methods, we show that the average voter in a majority coalition would gain more than if no parties were formed, but the average voter overall (in or out of the coalition) would be worse off. Furthermore, the extent of these gains and losses is inversely proportional to the degree to which voters line along a unidimensional left–right axis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)723-745
Number of pages23
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • Clustering
  • Coalition formation
  • Partitioning
  • Social choice
  • e-voting

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • General Social Sciences
  • Strategy and Management


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