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An Economic Model of Representative Democracy

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  • Besley, Timothy
  • Coate, Stephen

Abstract

This paper develops an approach to the study of democratic policy-making where politicians are selected by the people from those citizens who present themselves as candidates for public office. The approach has a number of attractive features. First, it is a conceptualization of a pure form of representative democracy in which government is by, as well as of, the people. Second, the model is analytically tractable, being able to handle multidimensional issue and policy spaces very naturally. Third, it provides a vehicle for answering normative questions about the performance of representative democracy. Copyright 1997, the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 112 (1997)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 85-114

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:85-114

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Web page: http://mitpress.mit.edu/journals/

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  1. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
  2. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1992. "Protection for Sale," Papers 162, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  3. Roger B. Myerson & Robert J. Weber, 1988. "A Theory of Voting Equilibria," Discussion Papers 782, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  4. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-35, December.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1984. "Public Policies, Pressure Groups, and Dead Weight Costs," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 35, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
  6. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 1992. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote Seeking, Tax Setting and Yardstick Competition," NBER Working Papers 4041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
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