Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

58 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013 Last revised: 15 May 2014

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School

E. Glen Weyl

Microsoft Research; Yale University

Date Written: February 14, 2014

Abstract

Democratic institutions aggregate preferences poorly. The norm of one-person-one-vote with majority rule treats people fairly by giving everyone an equal chance to influence outcomes, but fails to give proportional weight to people whose interests in a social outcome are stronger than those of other people — a problem that leads to the familiar phenomenon of tyranny of the majority. Various institutions that have been tried or proposed over the years to correct this problem — including supermajority rule, weighted voting, cumulative voting, "mixed constitutions," executive discretion, and judicially protected rights — all badly misfire in various ways, for example, by creating gridlock or corruption. This paper proposes a new form of political decision-making based on the theory of quadratic voting. It explains how quadratic voting solves the preference aggregation problem, giving proper weight to preferences of varying intensity, and how it could be implemented as well as addressing concerns about its consequences for equity.

Suggested Citation

Posner, Eric A. and Weyl, E. Glen, Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics (February 14, 2014). Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 68, No. 2, 2015; University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 657. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2343956

Eric A. Posner (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/posner-e/

Eric Glen Weyl

Microsoft Research ( email )

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

Yale University ( email )

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