voting rights for children; Public Choice; Public Pensions; Democracy; Franchise; Theory of Public Expenditures; Constitutional
Starting in the 1990s, the issue of additional votes per child for parents (Kinderwahlrecht) has almost exclusively been approached by faculties of constitutional law and political sciences, although political economists have been analyzing democratic elections and their impact on allocation and distribution for a long time. The work includes several analyses. The main findings are the following:
A general equilibrium theory-based analysis of optimal budget, mainly based on Samuelson (1955), elucidates that suffrage can have allocative and distributive consequences. Pareto optimum solutions can even occur if children are excluded, for instance. But if the widespread democratic principle of “One Man, One Vote” is interpreted as a utilitarian social welfare function, an optimum optimorum can only be found if children have the right to vote.
Calculating public budget on the basis of a median voter theorem, it will be illustrated that the introduction of Kinderwahlrecht does not need necessarily lead to more efficient results, but to more redistribution, if the mean family income per child in a society is higher than the family income per child of the new decisive voter (based on the theory of Meltzer and Richard, 1981). In contrast, based on the probabilistic voting approach of Hettich and Winer (1997), it is shown that Kinderwahlrecht leads to an optimum optimorum and higher taxes for childless people.
The stance that additional votes for parents facilitate family politics is an argument frequently urged in public political debate. The economic analysis, however, shows that an increase in child benefit rates in Germany will not even be capable of finding a majority if additional votes are applied.
Sinn and Übermesser (2002) put forward the thesis that a reform of the German pay-as-you-go-system will not be possible beyond 2016. Based on the 12th population prospects by the German Federal Office of Statistics (2009) it will be explained that the time period for a reform has already expired. As for additional votes for parents, in contrast, the expiry date will not be reached before 2023. In a probabilistic voting model based on family-centered, rational behaviour it is illustrated that a growing majority of voters would approve a reform of pension insurance at least until 2030.
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