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When do Representative and Direct Democracies Lead to Similar Policy Choices?

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  • Cukierman, A.
  • Spiegel, Y.

    (Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research)

Abstract

The paradigm of a direct democracy in which individuals vote direclty on the issues is widely used in the recent political economy literature that explicitly models the interaction between economic and political behavior. Yet, in most existing democracies policy decisions are delegated to elected officials. This begs the question of whether direct democracy models are useful for understanding actual policy choices. This question is also of independent interest since until the eighteenth century, the possibility that legislatures might consist of elected representatives remained mainly outside the theory and practice of democratic government. To answer this question we posit a model in which elected officials are better informed than the public about exogenous circumstances, but at the same time, are also influenced by particular constituencies whose desires policies generally differ from those of the decisive voter in the population.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 1998-115.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubcen:1998115

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  1. Guido Tabellini & Alberto Alesina, 1988. "Voting on the Budget Deficit," UCLA Economics Working Papers 539, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135.
  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  4. Kenneth Shepsle & Barry Weingast, 1981. "Structure-induced equilibrium and legislative choice," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 503-519, January.
  5. Aizenman, Joshua & Marion, Nancy P, 1993. "Policy Uncertainty, Persistence and Growth," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(2), pages 145-63, June.
  6. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Sule Ozler & Nouriel Roubini & Phillip Swagel, 1992. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 4173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Guido Tabellini, 1989. "The Politics of Intergenerational Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 3058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Perotti, Roberto, 1993. "Political Equilibrium, Income Distribution, and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 755-76, October.
  10. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Tangeras, T.P., 1998. "On the Role of Public Opinion Polls in Political Competition," Papers 655, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  2. Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2002. "Delegation or Voting," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-005/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Otto H. Swank & Bauke Visser, 2002. "Delegation or Voting," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-005/1, Tinbergen Institute.

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