Representative versus direct democracy: The role of informational asymmetries
The paper studies the relative merits of direct and representative legislation in a setting where voters are uncertain both with respect to the likely consequences of different policies and with respect to the political preferences of their fellow citizens. Under representative legislation, the latter translates into uncertainty on the elected official’s future policy intentions which involves a loss of control. The resulting discretionary power, however, also leads officials to endogenously acquire competence on the issues they oversee and specialize in policy formation. Policies determined in representative democracies are therefore better tailored to relevant contingencies but less close to the preferences of a majority than those determined in popular ballots. It is shown that the extent of the resulting trade-off depends on the set of alternatives among which the policy is to be chosen. Two extensions, referenda and the possibility of re-election, are briefly considered. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
Volume (Year): 122 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.springer.com|
|Order Information:||Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/public+finance/journal/11127/PS2|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
- Anthony M. Marino & John G. Matsusaka, 2005. "Decision Processes, Agency Problems, and Information: An Economic Analysis of Capital Budgeting Procedures," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 18(1), pages 301-325.
- Feld, Lars P. & Matsusaka, John G., 2003. "Budget referendums and government spending: evidence from Swiss cantons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2703-2724, December.
- Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997.
"An Economic Model of Representative Democracy,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
Oxford University Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114.
- Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, "undated". ""An Economic Model of Representative Democracy''," CARESS Working Papres 95-02, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Tim Besley & Stephen Coate, "undated". "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," Penn CARESS Working Papers ecf70d639d700dba5327ab0c8, Penn Economics Department.
- Osband, Kent, 1989. "Optimal Forecasting Incentives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1091-1112, October.
- Lars P. Feld & John G. Matsusaka, 2000. "Budget Referendums and Government Spending: Evidence from Swiss," CESifo Working Paper Series 323, CESifo Group Munich.
- Frey, Bruno S, 1994. "Direct Democracy: Politico-economic Lessons from Swiss Experience," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(2), pages 338-342, May.
- Cukierman, Alex & Tommasi, Mariano, 1998. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 180-197, March.
- Mariano Tommasi, 1995. "Why Does it Take a Nixon to go to China?," UCLA Economics Working Papers 728, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997. "When Does It Take a Nixon to Go to China," Papers 30-97, Tel Aviv.
- Cukierman, A. & Tommasi, M., 1997. "When does it take a Nixon to go to China?," Discussion Paper 1997-91, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
- Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinski, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96.
- Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
- Matsusaka, John G & McCarty, Nolan M, 2001. "Political Resource Allocation: Benefits and Costs of Voter Initiatives," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(2), pages 413-448, October.
- Friedrich Schneider, 1999. "Die Entwicklung der Sozialpolitik in repräsentativen und in direkten Demokratien: Königsweg oder Sackgasse? Einige Bemerkungen aus der "Public Choice"-Perspektive," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 135(III), pages 387-406, September.
- Steunenberg, Bernard, 1992. "Referendum, Initiative, and Veto Power: Budgetary Decision Making in Local Government," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(4), pages 501-529.
- Feld, Lars P. & Kirchgassner, Gebhard, 2000. "Direct democracy, political culture, and the outcome of economic policy: a report on the Swiss experience," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 287-306, June.
- Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1998. "Sources of Inefficiency in a Representative Democracy: A Dynamic Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(1), pages 139-156, March.
- John G. Matsusaka, 1992. "Economics of Direct Legislation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 541-571.
- Castanheira, Micael, 2002. "On the (Non) Paradox of (Not) Voting," CEPR Discussion Papers 3126, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-538.
- Rexford Santerre, 1989. "Representative versus direct democracy: Are there any expenditure differences?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 145-154, February.
- Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
- repec:cup:apsrev:v:86:y:1992:i:02:p:390-403_08 is not listed on IDEAS Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)