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On the optimal number of representatives

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  • Emmanuelle Auriol

    ()

  • Robert Gary-Bobo

    ()

Abstract

We propose a normative theory of the number of representatives based on a model of a representative democracy. We derive a formula giving the number of representatives as proportional to the square root of total population. Simple tests of the formula on a sample of a 100 countries yield good results. We then discuss the appropriateness of the number of representatives in some countries. It seems that the United States has too few representatives, while France and Italy have too many. The excess number of representatives matters: it is positively correlated with indicators of red tape and barriers to entrepreneurship. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 153 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (December)
Pages: 419-445

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:153:y:2012:i:3:p:419-445

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Representative democracy; Number of representatives; Constitution design; Incentives; D7; H11; H40;

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Cited by:
  1. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert J. Gary-Bobo, 1998. "On the Optimal Number of Representatives," Discussion Papers 1286, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Amedeo Piolatto, 2009. "Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: which is most representative of voters?," Working Papers 2009/27, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
  3. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker & Lybek, Tonny, 2008. "Central bank boards around the world: Why does membership size differ?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 817-832, December.
  4. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Gary-Bobo, Robert J., 2002. "On Robust Constitution Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Dino Gerardi & Leeat Yariv, 2003. "Committee Design in the Presence of Communication," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1411, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Dino Gerardi & Leeat Yariv, 2007. "Information Acquisition in Committees," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1411R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.

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