The Differential Calculus of Consent

16 Pages Posted: 20 Jun 2002

See all articles by Francesco Parisi

Francesco Parisi

University of Minnesota - Law School; University of Bologna

Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; Erasmus School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center


Existing treatments of the choice of an optimal voting rule ignore the effects of the rule on political bargaining. Specifically, more stringent majority requirements reduce intra-coalitional free riding in political compromise, leading to greater gains from political trade. Once this benefit of increasing the vote share necessary to enact a proposal is recognized, we suggest that the optimal voting rule in the presence of transactions costs will actually be closer to unanimity than the optimal majority derived by Buchanan and Tullock (1962).

Keywords: analysis of collective decisions, welfare economics

JEL Classification: D6, D7

Suggested Citation

Parisi, Francesco and Klick, Jonathan, The Differential Calculus of Consent. Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Vol. 20, No. 2-3, 2002, George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 02-18, Available at SSRN: or

Francesco Parisi (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Law School ( email )

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Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

University of Bologna ( email )

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Jonathan Klick

University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School ( email )

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United States
2157463455 (Phone)

Erasmus School of Law ( email )

3000 DR Rotterdam

PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

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United States

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