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An Economic Model of Representative Democracy

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  • Timothy Besley
  • Stephen Coate

Abstract

This paper develops an approach to the study of democratic policy-making where politicians are selected by the people from those citizens who present themselves as candidates for public office. The approach has a number of attractive features. First, it is a conceptualization of a pure form of representative democracy in which government is by, as well as of, the people. Second, the model is analytically tractable, being able to handle multidimensional issue and policy spaces very naturally. Third, it provides a vehicle for answering normative questions about the performance of representative democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:1:p:85-114.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/003355397555136
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Baron, David P. & Ferejohn, John A., 1989. "Bargaining in Legislatures," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(4), pages 1181-1206, December.
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    6. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    7. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Incumbent Behavior: Vote-Seeking, Tax-Setting, and Yardstick Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 25-45, March.
    8. Ordeshook,Peter C., 1986. "Game Theory and Political Theory," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521315937, May.
    9. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922, May.
    10. Coate, Stephen & Morris, Stephen, 1995. "On the Form of Transfers in Special Interests," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1210-1235, December.
    11. Harrington, Joseph E, Jr, 1993. "Economic Policy, Economic Performance, and Elections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 27-42, March.
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