Ethical Considerations on Quadratic Voting

Public Choice 1 (172):175-192 (2017)
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Abstract

This paper explores ethical issues raised by quadratic voting. We compare quadratic voting to majority voting from two ethical perspectives: the perspective of utilitarianism and that of democratic theory. From a utilitarian standpoint, the comparison is ambiguous: if voter preferences are independent of wealth, then quadratic voting out- performs majority voting, but if voter preferences are polarized by wealth, then majority voting may be superior. From the standpoint of democratic theory, we argue that assess- ments in terms of efficiency are too narrow. Voting institutions and political institutions more generally face a legitimacy requirement. We argue that in the presence of inequalities of wealth, any vote buying mechanism, including quadratic voting, will have a difficult time meeting this requirement.

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Ben Laurence
University of Chicago

References found in this work

Capitalism and Freedom.Milton Friedman - 1962 - Ethics 74 (1):70-72.
Social Choice and Individual Values.Kenneth Joseph Arrow - 1951 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley: New York.

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