Public Choice

, Volume 172, Issue 1–2, pp 265–282 | Cite as

Quadratic election law

  • Eric A. PosnerEmail author
  • Nicholas O. Stephanopoulos


The standard form of electoral system in the United States—plurality voting with one person, one vote—suffers from countless defects, many of which stem from its failure to enable people to register the intensity of their preferences for political outcomes when they vote. Quadratic voting, an elegant alternative system proposed by Glen Weyl, provides a theoretically attractive solution to this problem but is an awkward fit with America’s legal and political traditions. We identify the legal barriers to the adoption of quadratic voting, discuss modified versions that could pass muster, and show how even a modified version would address many of the pathologies of the existing system.


Electoral systems Election law Collective decision-making 



Thanks to Glen Weyl and participants at the conference on quadratic voting, as well as at a conference at the Washburn University School of Law, for helpful comments. Posner thanks the Russell Baker Scholars Fund for financial support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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