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On the Optimal Number of Representatives

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  • Auriol, Emmanuelle
  • Gary-Bobo, Robert

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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Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 86.

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Date of creation: Mar 2008
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Publication status: Published in Public Choice, vol.�153, décembre 2012, p.�419-445.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:692

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Cited by:
  1. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Gary-Bobo, Robert, 2001. "On Robust Constitution Design," IDEI Working Papers, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse 136, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse, revised Aug 2006.
  2. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2008. "Information acquisition in committees," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 436-459, March.
  3. Amedeo Piolatto, 2009. "Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: study of voters' representativeness," Working Papers. Serie AD, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie) 2009-14, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  4. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2012. "On the optimal number of representatives," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 419-445, December.
  5. Dino Gerardi & Leeat Yariv, 2003. "Committee Design in the Presence of Communication," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University 1411, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker & Lybek, Tonny, 2008. "Central Bank boards around the world: why does membership size differ?," Discussion Papers 2008/5, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.

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