Freedom Through Foot Voting

21 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2021 Last revised: 24 Jan 2021

See all articles by Ilya Somin

Ilya Somin

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: January 22, 2021


Freedom of movement is one of the great issues of our time. Expanding opportunities for both international and internal migration can greatly expand freedom and opportunity for hundreds of millions of people. The same goes for expanding freedom of choice in the private sector. “Voting with your feet” in any of these three ways is also, in crucial ways, superior to ballot box voting as a mechanism of political choice.

In this article I summarize the key advantages of foot voting over ballot box voting, describe how they apply to the three major types of foot voting, and outline answers to several types of standard objections to expanded migration rights. I address these issues in much greater detail in my book Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom, on which this article draws.

Keywords: Foot voting, Voting with your feet, federalism, political freedom, immigration, migration, democracy, political ignorance, political knowledge, self-determination, property rights, constitutional design, refugees, coronavirus, health care, decentralization, zoning

JEL Classification: F16, F22, K33, K37, P14, P16, P48, R11, R5, H10, H11

Suggested Citation

Somin, Ilya, Freedom Through Foot Voting (January 22, 2021). Economic Affairs, forthcoming, George Mason Legal Studies Research Paper No. LS 21-01, Available at SSRN: or

Ilya Somin (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States
703-993-8069 (Phone)
703-993-8124 (Fax)


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