Enfranchising children through proxy voting: welfare and demographic implications

Matteo Rizzolli (LUMSA University in Rome)
Federico Trombetta (Università Cattolica di Milano)
Federico Boffa (Università di Bolzano)
Tommaso Reggiani (Cardiff University)


The idea that parents should proxy vote for their children (an idea also known as Demeny voting) is gathering attention in the face of a general sense of political short-terminism and democratic deficit that characterize many democracies and also in the face of rapid population decline that some countries are already experiencing. We present a probabilistic voting model where citizens can vote for the production of a public good which produces immediate benefits and for investing in education which benefits society over time. Fertility is endogenous and political conflict arise between parents and non-parents over public spending. We show that Demeny voting increases fertility, future-oriented spending such as education and, under some conditions, it increases long term welfare also for non-parents.

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