Quadratic Election Law

20 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2016

See all articles by Eric A. Posner

Eric A. Posner

University of Chicago - Law School

Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Harvard Law School

Date Written: March 1, 2016


The standard form of electoral system in the United States — plurality voting with one person, one vote — suffers from countless defects, most of which stem from its failure to enable people to register the intensity of their preferences for political outcomes when they vote. Quadratic voting, an elegant alternative system proposed by Glen Weyl, provides a theoretically attractive solution to this problem but is an awkward fit with America’s legal and political traditions. We identify the legal barriers to the adoption of quadratic voting, discuss modified versions that could pass muster, and show how even a modified version would address many of the pathologies of the existing system.

Suggested Citation

Posner, Eric A. and Stephanopoulos, Nicholas, Quadratic Election Law (March 1, 2016). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 752, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2741311 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2741311

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/

Nicholas Stephanopoulos

Harvard Law School ( email )

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