Effective Vote Markets and the Tyranny of Wealth

Alfred Archer, Bart Engelen, Viktor Ivankovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


What limits should there be on the areas of life that are governed by market forces? For many years, no one seriously defended the buying and selling votes for political elections. In recent years, however, this situation has changed, with a number of authors defending the permissibility of vote markets (e.g. Freiman 2014). One popular objection to such markets is that they would lead to a tyranny of wealth, where the poor are politically dominated by the rich. In a recent paper, Taylor ( Res Publica 23(3):313-328, 2017. doi:10.1007/s11158-016-9327-0) has argued that this objection can be avoided if certain restrictions are placed on vote markets. In this paper we will argue that this attempt to rebut an argument against vote markets is unsuccessful. Either vote markets secure their purported benefits but then they inevitably lead to a tyranny of wealth, or they are restricted so heavily that they lack the features that have been claimed to make vote markets attractive in the first place. Using Taylor's proposal as a test case, we make the more general claim that vote markets cannot avoid the tyranny of wealth objection and bring about their supposed benefits at the same time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-54
Number of pages16
JournalRes Publica: A journal of legal and social philosophy
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Exploitation
  • Limits of markets
  • Markets
  • Political theory
  • Suffrage
  • Tyranny of wealth
  • Vote buying
  • Vote markets
  • Vote selling
  • Votes
  • Voting


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