Combinatorial Voting

David S. Ahn*, Santiago Oliveros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

16 Citations (Scopus)


We study elections that simultaneously decide multiple issues, where voters have independent private values over bundles of issues. The innovation is in considering nonseparable preferences, where issues may be complements or substitutes. Voters face a political exposure problem: the optimal vote for a particular issue will depend on the resolution of the other issues. Moreover, the probabilities that the other issues will pass should be conditioned on being pivotal. We prove that equilibrium exists when distributions over values have full support or when issues are complements. We then study large elections with two issues. There exists a nonempty open set of distributions where the probability of either issue passing fails to converge to either 1 or 0 for all limit equilibria. Thus, the outcomes of large elections are not generically predictable with independent private values, despite the fact that there is no aggregate uncertainty regarding fundamentals. While the Condorcet winner is not necessarily the outcome of a multi-issue election, we provide sufficient conditions that guarantee the implementation of the Condorcet winner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-141
Number of pages53
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Combinatorial voting
  • Multi-issue elections
  • Strategic voting

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