Foot Voting, Decentralization, and Development
23 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2018 Last revised: 6 Mar 2019
Date Written: April 25, 2018
We can enhance development by making it easier for people to “vote with their feet” between jurisdictions. Few, if any, policy reforms can achieve such enormous increases in economic growth and opportunity. Foot voting is, in several crucial respects, a better mechanism of political decision-making than ballot-box voting. Foot voters generally have better incentives to acquire relevant knowledge and use it more wisely than ballot box voters do. Empowering foot voters enhances development by enabling citizens to move to areas with greater job opportunities, and incentivizing regional and local governments to adopt pro-development policies in order to compete for residents and businesses. Even greater gains can be achieved by expanding opportunities for foot voting across international boundaries, through immigration. Constitutional structures can be designed in ways that maximize the benefits of foot voting and minimize potential costs.
Keywords: voting rights, foot voting, constitution, political decision-making, franchise, Democracy, federalism, immigration, refugees, human rights, development, keyhole solutions, voting with your feet, constitutional design
JEL Classification: K37, P48, H10, H11, H70, H73, H77, J60, J61, O10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation