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Table 18-3

Immigration ReformUnemployment BenefitsSocial Security Reform
Bart 1st3rd2nd

Refer to Table 18-3. The table above outlines the rankings of three members of the U.S. Senate on three spending alternatives. Assume that Congress can spend additional revenue on only one of the three spending alternatives and that Bart, Lisa, and Maggie, all members of the Senate, participate in a series of votes in which they are to determine which of the spending alternatives should receive funding. Three votes will be taken: (1) Immigration Reform and Unemployment Benefits (2) Immigration Reform and Social Security Reform and (3) Unemployment Benefits and Social Security Reform.

Show the results of each vote and determine whether the voting paradox will occur as a result of these votes.
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First vote:
Immigration ReformUnemployment BenefitsSelection
Bart1st3rdImmigration Reform
Lisa2nd1stUnemployment Benefits
Maggie3rd2ndUnemployment Benefits
First vote: the majority votes for spending on Unemployment Benefits.

Second vote:
Immigration ReformSocial Security ReformSelection
Bart1st2ndImmigration Reform
Lisa2nd3rdImmigration Reform
Maggie3rd1stSocial Security Reform
Second vote: the majority votes for spending on Immigration Reform.

Third vote:
Unemployment BenefitsSocial Security ReformSelection
Bart3rd2ndSocial Security Reform
Lisa1st3rdUnemployment Benefits
Maggie2nd1stSocial Security Reform

Third vote: the majority votes for spending on Social Security Reform.

The results of the voting process do illustrate the voting paradox because the preferences of Bart, Lisa, and Maggie are not transitive. If their preferences were transitive, we would find that if the voters prefer to spend on Unemployment Benefits rather than Immigration Reform (the result of the first vote), and they prefer to spend on Immigration Reform rather than Social Security Reform (result of the second vote), they should prefer to spend on Unemployment Benefits rather than Social Security Reform. In fact, they prefer to spend on Social Security Reform rather than Unemployment Benefits (the result of the third vote). This is an example of the voting paradox, which is defined as the failure of majority voting to always result in consistent choices.
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