Can we devise mechanisms that allow voters to express the intensity of their preferences when monetary transfers are forbidden? Can minorities be decisive over those issues they feel very strongly about? As opposed to the usual voting system (one person â€“ one decision â€“ one vote), we propose a voting system where each agent is endowed with a fixed number of votes that can be distributed freely among a set of issues that need to be approved or dismissed. Its novelty relies on allowing voters to express the intensity of their preferences in a simple manner. This voting system is optimal in a well-defined sense: in a strategic setting with two voters, two issues and preference intensities uniformly and independently distributed across possible values, Qualitative Voting Pareto dominates Majority Rule and, moreover, achieves the only exante optimal (incentive-compatible) allocation. The result also holds true with three voters, as long as the votersâ€™ preferences towards the issues differ sufficiently.
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