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Why one person one vote?


  • Hans Gersbach



We provide a simple justification as to why the core principal in liberal democracies the one-person-one-vote is desirable. We compare two possible constitutions. In a “fixed democracy”, each individual has one vote and the same opportunity to propose public projects. In a “flexible democracy”, those that set the agenda can additionally propose to limit future participation in voting and agenda-setting. We show that a fixed democracy restricts majorities from taxing minorities to a greater extent than a flexible democracy. A flexible democracy may be more suited to enable a polity to undertake public projects. This possible advantage may be too small to outweigh taxation distortions and citizens unanimously favor the one-person-one-vote rule ex ante. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Gersbach, 2004. "Why one person one vote?," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 23(3), pages 449-464, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:23:y:2004:i:3:p:449-464
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-003-0271-5

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    Cited by:

    1. Naqvi, Nadeem & Neumärker, Bernhard & Pech, Gerald, 2012. "The rule of law and sustainability of the constitution: The case of tax evasion," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 01-2012, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.

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