Quadratic Voting

Quadratic Voting is a way for groups to make decisions together that achieves the greatest possible good for the greatest number of group members. 

It was invented by University of Chicago economist and CDE co-founder Glen Weyl, who has proven with University of Chicago statistician Steven Lalley that it is the only optimal and practical way to make collective decisions.

In its simplest form, people cast as many votes as they want for or against a proposal by paying the square of the number of votes that they cast. (Two votes cost four dollars; three votes costs nine dollars; and so on.) Depending on the system, people buy votes by using an artificial currency or real money. After the vote, the money or credits are redistributed to everyone in the group on a pro rata basis.

QV is superior to majority-rule voting because it enables people who care most about a proposal to exert greater influence over it than people who care little about it. In majority-rule voting the majority can outvote the minority even if the majority cares little about the issue in question. Other voting systems that economists have invented also fail to give people correct incentives to reveal the intensity of their preferences for an outcome. By contrast, QV forces people to cast votes exactly in proportion to the intensity of their preferences.

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CDE has embodied QV for market research as an algorithmic mechanism in an intuitive user interface, brought to life in a cutting-edge mobile tool called weDesign.

weDesign engages respondents in a web or phone application by which they make trade-offs that reveal their preferences and the passion behind those preferences, thus combining the best of quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

The weDesign system provides a powerful new tool for anyone looking for deeper and more rigorous insights into the hivemind of any target audience.

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The Buzz on Quadratic Voting

Academic Articles on QV

company information

We created Collective Decision Engines to help any organization from Fortune 500 corporations to Congressional committees make the best possible choices to benefit the group as a whole. Only our weDesign app provides a complete system of Quadratic Voting that engages users to make the thoughtful trade-offs necessary to deeply explore and quantify our most powerful aspirations.

Beyond market research, QV has broad applications in areas of our founders’ expertise, including online gaming, strategic political research, social aggregation, and crowd funding.

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and see what we can DESIGN together

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who we are

David Goldstein

Throughout his career, David has consulted and conducted research for local, national and global leaders in government, business, and nonprofit fields including heads of state and Fortune 100 CEOs, including work on some of the most challenging communications situations in recent history, such as the passage of the historic Affordable Care Act and navigating Toyota through its 2010 recall crisis.

David is also an adjunct professor of market research at City College of New York and a guest lecturer on data collection and analysis for the Parsons School of Design.

Glen Weyl
Co-founder, chief of research

After graduating as the Valedictorian of his 2007 undergraduate class at Princeton University, and receiving his PhD in economics from Princeton a year later, Glen Weyl is now an Assistant Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Chicago and Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research New England. He is the inventor of quadratic voting and has published numerous articles on quadratic voting and other topics in economic theory in journals including American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Northwestern University Law Review and Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He received a two-year Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship beginning in 2014 and in 2016-2017 he plans to visit Princeton University as an Associate Research Scholar and Visiting Lecturer. Outside of his academic life, Glen sits on the board of an art magazine, Esopus.

Kevin Slavin
Co-Founder, Design Chief

Kevin Slavin is a Principal Investigator at the MIT Media Lab and a serial entrepreneur who has successfully integrated digital media, game development, and technology. In 2005, he co-founded Area/Code, which pioneered large-scale, real-world games utilizing mobile and location-aware technologies. Zynga acquired Area/Code in 2011 after Area/Code completed numerous successful projects under Kevin’s direction. Prior to co-founding Area/Code, Kevin worked for 10 years as a creative director and strategic planner in advertising agencies such as DDB, TBWA\Chiat\Day, and SS+K. His work has won major industry awards including the Silver Clio, the One Show, and the Art Director’s Club. His TED talk on algorithms is one of the most widely-viewed in TED history and his work has been profiled in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Wired US, UK and Japan, and Fast Company.

Eric Posner

Eric Posner is the Kirkland & Ellis Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He has written numerous books and articles on legal topics and writes a biweekly column for Slate. He has published articles on bankruptcy law, contract law, international law, cost-benefit analysis, constitutional law, and administrative law, and has taught courses on international law, foreign relations law, contracts, employment law, bankruptcy law, secured transactions, and game theory and the law. His current research focuses on international law, immigration law, and foreign relations law. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the American Law Institute. He has coauthored several papers on quadratic voting with Glen Weyl.

Eric Maskin

Eric Maskin is Adams University Professor at Harvard. He received the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics (with L. Hurwicz and R. Myerson) for laying the foundations of mechanism design theory. He also has made contributions to game theory, contract theory, social choice theory, political economy, and other areas of economics.

He received his A.B. and Ph.D from Harvard and was a postdoctoral fellow at Jesus College, Cambridge University. He was a faculty member at MIT from 1977-1984, Harvard from 1985-2000, and the Institute for Advanced Study from 2000-2011. He rejoined the Harvard faculty in 2012.

Gabriel Stricker

Gabriel Stricker was most recently the Chief Communications Officer of Twitter, Inc., where he managed its global public policy and media relations strategies for the past three years, including Twitter’s historic IPO. He is recognized as one of the world’s preeminent marketers and has been listed by the Holmes Report as one of the world’s 100 most influential corporate communicators and one of the 20 most effective communications professionals by Business Insider. Prior to joining Twitter, Gabriel was Director of Global Communications & Public Affairs at Google, Inc.

Ellen Konar

Dr. Ellen Konar is a marketing and social science research advisor and consulting scholar at Stanford’s Center for Advanced advisor with deep expertise in customer, market, and employee insights programs and methodologies. She led global customer research and data science programs at Google, Intel, and IBM as well as consumer marketing and market insights at two game changing start-ups. Her innovations in advertising, branding, and voice of the customer, data products and multi-level data platforms earned her a host of patents, the Google Executive Management Group Award as well as the honor of a being an Intel Fellow, the first woman and non-engineering executive to be so honored. She is chairman of the board of Mindset Works, a strategic advisor at CDE, Qualtrics, and the Lean In Foundation and is on the board of a host of non-profit organizations changing the future.

David Quarfoot

David Quarfoot is a veteran educator, researcher, and data scientist who has taught mathematics and computer science in America's top private schools. In 2007, he was the Presidential Scholar teacher award selectee for the state of Connecticut. He has also authored over 40 crossword puzzles for the New York Times, constructed the championship puzzles for the Boston and LA Crossword Puzzle Tournaments, and written an article on the art and science of crossword construction. Currently, he studies the epistemological and ontological structure of mathematical problems by using qualitative, statistical, and big-data techniques to explore the relationships among problem features.

Doug von Kohorn
Director of Engineering

After receiving his BS in Computer Science from Yale, Doug developed personalization and recommendation systems for Yahoo!. As CTO of Occom, a technology consulting company he founded in New York, Doug helped architect and build several products. He has over 10 years of engineering web products with Javascript, Python, and Ruby.