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On the optimal number of representatives

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  • Emmanuelle Auriol

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  • Robert Gary-Bobo

    ()

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

Suggested Citation

  • Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2012. "On the optimal number of representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 419-445, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:153:y:2012:i:3:p:419-445 DOI: 10.1007/s11127-011-9801-3
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    Cited by:

    1. Piolatto, Amedeo, 2008. "Electoral systems and the distortion of voters' preferences," MPRA Paper 12610, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Jan 2009.
    2. Dino Gerardi & Leeat Yariv, 2003. "Committee Design in the Presence of Communication," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1411, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    3. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2012. "On the optimal number of representatives," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(3), pages 419-445, December.
    4. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker & Lybek, Tonny, 2008. "Central bank boards around the world: Why does membership size differ?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 817-832, December.
    5. Emmanuelle Auriol & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2007. "On Robust Constitution Design," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 62(3), pages 241-279, May.
    6. Piolatto, Amedeo, 2011. "Plurality versus proportional electoral rule: Which is most representative of voters?," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 311-327, June.
    7. Gerardi, Dino & Yariv, Leeat, 2008. "Information acquisition in committees," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, pages 436-459.
    8. repec:kap:pubcho:v:172:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11127-017-0458-4 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Representative democracy; Number of representatives; Constitution design; Incentives; D7; H11; H40;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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