Optimal Voting Rules

Alex Gershkov, Benny Moldovanu, Xianwen Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


We derive the incentive compatible and ex-ante welfare maximizing (i.e. utilitarian) mechanism for settings with an arbitrary number of agents and alternatives where the privately informed agents have single-crossing and single-peaked preferences. The optimal outcome can be implemented by modifying a sequential voting scheme that is used in many legislatures and committees. The modification uses a flexible majority threshold for each of several alternatives, and allows us to replicate, via a single sequential procedure, the entire class of anonymous, unanimous, and dominant strategy incentive compatible mechanisms. Our analysis relies on elegant characterizations of this class of mechanisms for single-peaked and single-crossing preferences.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)688-717
Number of pages30
JournalReview of Economic Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2016.


  • Dominant strategy implementation
  • Generalized median
  • Sequential voting
  • Single-crossing preferences


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