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Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics

Posted by on Thursday, March 19, 2015 in Articles, Volume 68, Volume 68, Number 2.

Voting Squared: Quadratic Voting in Democratic Politics


Conventional democratic institutions aggregate preferences poorly. The norm of one-person–one-vote with majority rule treats people fairly by giving everyone an equal chance to influence outcomes but fails to give proportional weight to people whose interests in a social outcome are stronger than those of other people. This problem leads to the familiar phenomenon of tyranny of the majority. Various institutions that have been tried or proposed over the years to correct this problem—including supermajority rule, weighted voting, cumulative voting, “mixed constitutions,” executive discretion, and judicially protected rights—all badly misfire in various ways, for example, by creating gridlock or corruption. This Article proposes a new form of political decisionmaking based on the theory of quadratic voting. It explains how quadratic voting solves the preference-aggregation problem by giving proper weight to preferences of varying intensity, how it can be incorporated into political institutions, and why it should improve equity.


Eric A. Posner
Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor and Arthur and Esther Kane Research Chair, University of Chicago Law School.

E. Glen Weyl
Researcher, Microsoft Research and Assistant Professor of Economics and Law, University of Chicago.