Building Radical Charter Cities

Paul Healy and Matt Prewitt detail three RadicalxChange policies for improving charter city governance.

Research

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Charter cities are special jurisdictions within countries that aim to reduce poverty and spur development via a legal system that differs from that of the host country. Typically, charter cities create legal systems with more reliable enforcement and better incentives for investment and economic development. Charter cities also present a perfect setting to experiment more broadly with economic and democratic reforms at the city level. The RadicalxChange movement—a growing body of literature in economics and law, as well as real-world pilot programs—proposes several policies ripe for implementation in charter cities that aim to reduce concentrations of economic and political power. This paper discusses the theoretical rationales and practical implementation steps for three such policies: (i) SALSA (Self-Assessed Licenses Sold via Auction—a better way to structure property rights), (ii) Quadratic Finance (a better way to fund public goods), and (iii) Quadratic Voting (a better way to vote).