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Representative versus direct democracy: A Tiebout test of relative performance

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  • Rexford Santerre

Abstract

This study has used a Tiebout-type empirical model to analyze the overall differences in performance between representative and direct democratic forms of local government. In agreement with the underlying theory of representative democracy, representative forms of local government are found to be significantly inefficient relative to the direct democratic form of local government. The findings also indicate that a great similarity in efficiency exists between council-manager and mayor-council forms of local government. Both forms of local government appear to be equally inefficient compared to the open-town meeting. Further empirical analysis demonstrates that the cost of local representative government failure may be as high as 13 percent of the typical community's property tax base, which may be cause for some alarm. It should be mentioned that the results do not suggest that open-town meeting forms of government are necessarily efficient. (The median-voter model argues otherwise.) The results only indicate that the open-town meeting can be considered more efficient relative to the other forms of local government. Copyright Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1986

Suggested Citation

  • Rexford Santerre, 1986. "Representative versus direct democracy: A Tiebout test of relative performance," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 55-63, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:48:y:1986:i:1:p:55-63
    DOI: 10.1007/BF00239560
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sharon Megdal, 1983. "The determination of local public expenditures and the principal and agent relation: A case study," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 71-87, January.
    2. Richardson, Harry W., 1977. "On the possibility of positive rent gradients," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 60-68, January.
    3. Rexford E. Santerre, 1985. "Spatial Differences in the Demands for Local Public Goods," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 62(2), pages 119-128.
    4. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
    5. Ehrenberg, Ronald G. & Goldstein, Gerald S., 1975. "A model of public sector wage determination," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(3), pages 223-245, July.
    6. Pommerehne, Werner W & Schneider, Friedrich, 1978. "Fiscal Illusion, Political Institutions, and Local Public Spending," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 381-408.
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    Cited by:

    1. John Bradbury & W. Crain, 2005. "Legislative district configurations and fiscal policy in American States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 385-407, December.
    2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
    3. Becker, Gary S & Mulligan, Casey B, 2003. "Deadweight Costs and the Size of Government," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 293-340, October.
    4. Libman, Alexander, 2009. "Essays on Asymmetric Federalism," MPRA Paper 21591, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Asatryan, Zareh & De Witte, Kristof, 2015. "Direct democracy and local government efficiency," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 58-66.
    6. Rexford Santerre, 1989. "Representative versus direct democracy: Are there any expenditure differences?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 60(2), pages 145-154, February.
    7. Wohlgemuth, Michael & Sideras, Jörn, 2004. "Globalisability of Universalisability? How to apply the Generality Principle and Constitutionalism internationally," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 04/7, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    8. Steven Deller & David Chicoine, 1988. "Representative versus direct democracy a Tiebout test of relative performance: Comment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 69-72, January.
    9. repec:idb:idbbks:376 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "Direct Democracy: Designing a Living Constitution," IEW - Working Papers 167, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    11. Rexford Santerre, 1988. "Representative versus direct democracy a Tiebout test of relative performance: Reply," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 56(1), pages 73-76, January.
    12. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, "undated". "The Role of Direct Democracy and Federalism in Local Power," IEW - Working Papers 209, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    13. Saiz, Albert, 2011. "The median voter didn't show up: Costly meetings and insider rents," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 415-425, September.
    14. Ernesto Talvi & Ernesto H. Stein & Eduardo Lora & Michael Gavin & Rajindra Lalchan & Ricardo Hausmann, 1997. "América Latina tras una década de reformas: Progreso económico y social," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 66218, February.
    15. Frey, Bruno S. & Eichenberger, Reiner, 1996. "To harmonize or to compete? That's not the question," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 335-349, June.
    16. Frey, Bruno S., 2004. "Direct Democracy for a Living Constitution," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 04/5, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..

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