Public Choice

, Volume 172, Issue 1–2, pp 125–149 | Cite as

Who will vote quadratically? Voter turnout and votes cast under quadratic voting



Who will vote quadratically in large-N elections under quadratic voting (QV)? First, who will vote? Although the core QV literature assumes that everyone votes, turnout is endogenous. Drawing on other work, we consider the representativeness of endogenously determined turnout under QV. Second, who will vote quadratically? Conditional on turning out, we examine reasons that, in large-N elections, the number of votes that an individual casts may deviate substantially from that under pure, rational QV equilibrium play. Because turnout itself is driven by other factors, the same determinants may influence how voters who do turn out choose the quantity of votes to cast. Independently, the number of votes actually cast may deviate dramatically from pure QV predictions because of the complex and refined nature of equilibrium play. Most plausibly, voting behavior and outcomes would be determined predominately by social and psychological forces, would exhibit few of the features emphasized in the analysis of hyper-rational equilibrium play, and would have consequential properties that require a different research agenda to bring into focus. Some of our analysis also has implications for voting behavior under other procedures, including one person, one vote.


Voting Voter turnout Paradox of voting Quadratic voting Pivotality Elections 

JEL Classification

D71 D72 D82 



We thank Ryan Bubb, Glen Weyl, and participants at the conference on Quadratic Voting and the Public Good for comments; Jimin He, Andrea Lowe, Andrew Paik, and John Rady for research assistance; and National Science Foundation grants CCF-1216095 and SES-1459912, the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard University, and the Harvard Milton Fund for financial support. Disclaimer: Kaplow occasionally consults on antitrust cases, and his spouse is in the legal department of a financial services firm.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.National Bureau of Economic ResearchCambridgeUSA

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