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Incentivising Participation in Liquid Democracy with Breadth-First Delegation

Grammateia Kotsialou and Luke Riley

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Abstract: Liquid democracy allows members of an electorate to either directly vote over alternatives, or delegate their voting rights to someone they trust. Most of the liquid democracy literature and implementations allow each voter to nominate only one delegate per election. However, if that delegate abstains, the voting rights assigned to her are left unused. To minimise the number of unused delegations, it has been suggested that each voter should declare a personal ranking over voters she trusts. In this paper, we show that even if personal rankings over voters are declared, the standard delegation method of liquid democracy remains problematic. More specifically, we show that when personal rankings over voters are declared, it could be undesirable to receive delegated voting rights, which is contrary to what liquid democracy fundamentally relies on. To solve this issue, we propose a new method to delegate voting rights in an election, called breadth-first delegation. Additionally, the proposed method prioritises assigning voting rights to individuals closely connected to the voters who delegate.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
Date: 2018-11, Revised 2019-02
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Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1811.03710