Quadratic Voting: How Mechanism Design Can Radicalize Democracy

American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2018

5 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2012 Last revised: 26 Dec 2017

See all articles by Steven Lalley

Steven Lalley

Department of Statistics, University of Chicago

E. Glen Weyl

Plural Technology Collaboratory, Microsoft Research Special Projects; Plurality Institute; GETTING-Plurality Research Network

Date Written: December 24, 2017

Abstract

Can mechanism design save democracy? We propose a simple design that offers a chance: individuals pay for as many votes as they wish using a number of "voice credits" quadratic in the votes they buy. Only quadratic cost induces marginal costs linear in votes purchased and thus welfare optimality if individuals' valuation of votes is proportional to their value of changing the outcome. A variety of analysis and evidence suggests that this still-nascent mechanism has significant promise to robustly correct the failure of existing democracies to incorporate intensity of preference and knowledge.

The online appendix for "Quadratic Voting: How Mechanism Design Can Radicalize Democracy" may be found here: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2790624.

Keywords: social choice, collective decisions, large markets, costly voting, vote trading

JEL Classification: D47, D61, D71, C72, D82, H41, P16

Suggested Citation

Lalley, Steven and Weyl, Eric Glen, Quadratic Voting: How Mechanism Design Can Radicalize Democracy (December 24, 2017). American Economic Association Papers and Proceedings, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2003531 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2003531

Steven Lalley

Department of Statistics, University of Chicago ( email )

Eckhart Hall Room 108
5734 S. University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

HOME PAGE: http://galton.uchicago.edu/~lalley/

Eric Glen Weyl (Contact Author)

Plural Technology Collaboratory, Microsoft Research Special Projects ( email )

11 Ellsworth Ave, #2
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States
8579984513 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.glenweyl.com

Plurality Institute ( email )

GETTING-Plurality Research Network ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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