Implementation by Vote-Buying Mechanisms

56 Pages Posted: 12 Mar 2018

See all articles by Jon X. Eguia

Jon X. Eguia

Michigan State University - Department of Economics

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus

Date Written: March 12, 2018


A vote-buying mechanism is such that each agent buys a quantity of votes x to cast for an alternative of her choosing, at a cost c(x), and the outcome is determined by the total number of votes cast for each alternative. In the context of binary decisions, we prove that the choice rules that can be implemented by vote-buying mechanisms in large societies are parameterized by a positive parameter rho, which measures the importance of individual preference intensities on the social choice: The limit with rho= 0 is majority rule, rho = 1 is utilitarianism, and rho→∞ is the Rawlsian maximin rule. We show that any vote-buying mechanism with limit cost elasticity (1 rho)/rho as x→0 implements the choice rule defined by rho. The utilitarian efficiency of quadratic voting (Lalley and Weyl, 2016) follows as a special case.

Keywords: implementation, mechanism design, vote-buying, social welfare, utilitarianism, quadratic voting

JEL Classification: D72, D71, D61

Suggested Citation

Eguia, Jon X. and Xefteris, Dimitrios, Implementation by Vote-Buying Mechanisms (March 12, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Jon X. Eguia (Contact Author)

Michigan State University - Department of Economics ( email )

East Lansing, MI 48824
United States

Dimitrios Xefteris

University of Cyprus ( email )

75 Kallipoleos Street
P.O. Box 20537
1678 Nicosia

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