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Epistemic Democracy With Defensible Premises

  • Dietrich, Franz
  • Spiekermann, Kai

The contemporary theory of epistemic democracy often draws on the Condorcet Jury Theorem to formally justify the ‘wisdom of crowds’. But this theorem is inapplicable in its current form, since one of its premises – voter independence – is notoriously violated. This premise carries responsibility for the theorem's misleading conclusion that ‘large crowds are infallible’. We prove a more useful jury theorem: under defensible premises, ‘large crowds are fallible but better than small groups’. This theorem rehabilitates the importance of deliberation and education, which appear inessential in the classical jury framework. Our theorem is related to Ladha's (1993) seminal jury theorem for interchangeable (‘indistinguishable’) voters based on de Finetti's Theorem. We also prove a more general and simpler such jury theorem.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Economics and Philosophy.

Volume (Year): 29 (2013)
Issue (Month): 01 (March)
Pages: 87-120

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Handle: RePEc:cup:ecnphi:v:29:y:2013:i:01:p:87-120_00
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  1. Ruth Ben-Yashar & Jacob Paroush, 2000. "A nonasymptotic Condorcet jury theorem," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 189-199.
  2. Christian List, 2005. "The probability of inconsistencies in complex collective decisions," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 24(1), pages 3-32, 05.
  3. Franz Dietrich & Christian List, 2002. "A Model of Jury Decisions Where All Jurors Have the Same Evidence," Economics Papers 2002-W23, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  4. Lloyd Shapley & Bernard Grofman, 1984. "Optimizing group judgmental accuracy in the presence of interdependencies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 329-343, January.
  5. Serguei Kaniovski, 2010. "Aggregation of correlated votes and Condorcet’s Jury Theorem," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 69(3), pages 453-468, September.
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