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Incentivising Participation in Liquid Democracy with Breadth-First Delegation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems 2020
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Choice and Cooperative Game Theory
Accepted/In pressJan 2020


  • AAMAS2020

    AAMAS2020.pdf, 574 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:29 Jan 2020

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


Liquid democracy allows members of an electorate to either directly vote over the available election alternatives, or delegate their voting rights to someone they trust. Most of the liquid democracy literature and implementations allow each voter to nominate only one delegate per election. However, if that delegate abstains, the voting rights assigned to her are left unused. To minimise the number of unused delegations, it has been suggested that each voter should declare a personal ranking over voters she trusts. In this paper, we show that even if personal rankings over voters are declared, the standard delegation method of liquid democracy remains problematic. More specifically, we show that when personal rankings over voters are declared, it could be undesirable to receive delegated voting rights, which is contrary to what liquid democracy fundamentally relies on. To solve this issue, we propose a new method to delegate voting rights in an election, called breadth-first delegation. Additionally, the proposed method prioritises assigning voting rights to individuals closely connected to the voters who delegate.

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