Why One Person One Vote?

18 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2000

See all articles by Hans Gersbach

Hans Gersbach

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Research; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: December 1999


We provide a justification why the core principal in liberal democracies one-person-one-vote is socially desirable. We compare two possible constitutions. Under a "fixed democracy", every person has one vote and has the same chance to propose public good provision. Under a "flexible democracy", an agenda setter can additionally propose to limit future participation in voting and agenda setting. We show that a fixed democracy induces more restrictions on attempts of majorities to tax minorities than a flexible democracy. A flexible democracy may be more suited to enable a polity to undertake public projects. This possible advantage is too small to outweigh taxation distortions and citizens unanimously favor the one-person-one-vote rule ex ante.

JEL Classification: H11

Suggested Citation

Gersbach, Hans, Why One Person One Vote? (December 1999). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=146733 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.146733

Hans Gersbach (Contact Author)

ETH Zurich - CER-ETH -Center of Economic Research ( email )

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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