We introduce democratic mechanisms as a set of rules that must obey liberal democracy's fundamental principles of equal voting and agenda rights. We show that an appropriate combination of three rules may yield efficient provision of public projects: first, flexible and double majority rules, where the size of the majority depends on the proposal, and taxed and non-taxed individuals need to support the proposal; second, flexible agenda costs, where the agenda-setter has to pay a certain amount of money if his proposal does not generate enough supporting votes; third, a ban on subsidies. We highlight that universal equal treatment with regard to taxation is undesirable. Finally, we illustrate how simple constitutions involving fixed super majority rules yield socially desirable outcomes if the agenda-setter is benevolent. (JEL: D62, D72, H40) (c) 2009 by the European Economic Association.
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Volume (Year): 7 (2009)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
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