IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

On the Optimal Number of Representatives

  • Auriol, Emmanuelle
  • Gary-Bobo, Robert

We propose a normative theory of the number of representatives based on a stylized model of a representative democracy. We derive a simple formula, a "square-root theory" which gives the number of representatives in parliament as proportional to the square root of total population. Simple econometric tests of the formula on a sample of a 100 countries yield surprisingly good results. These results provide a benchmark for a discussion of the appropriateness of the number of representatives in some countries. It seems that the United States have 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, barriers to entrepreneurship and perceived corruption.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://idei.fr/sites/default/files/medias/doc/wp/2008/representatives.pdf
File Function: Full text
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 86.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Public Choice, vol. 153, décembre 2012, p. 419-445.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:692
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Manufacture des Tabacs, Aile Jean-Jacques Laffont, 21 Allée de Brienne, 31000 TOULOUSE

Phone: +33 (0)5 61 12 85 89
Fax: + 33 (0)5 61 12 86 37
Web page: http://www.idei.fr/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
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.:

as in new window
  1. Casella, Alessandra & Palfrey, Thomas & Riezman, Raymond, 2005. "Minorities and Storable Votes," Papers 09-19-2005b, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
  2. Dirk Bergemann & Juuso Valimaki, 2002. "Information Acquisition and Efficient Mechanism Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1007-1033, May.
  3. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Alesina, Alberto & Rosenthal, Howard, 1996. "A Theory of Divided Government," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(6), pages 1311-41, November.
  5. Jerry Green & Jean-Jacques Laffont, 1977. "Imperfect personal information and the demand revealing process: A sampling approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 79-94, March.
  6. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Scholarly Articles 3450061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Treisman, Daniel, 2000. "The causes of corruption: a cross-national study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(3), pages 399-457, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Public Finance," Working Papers 149, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  10. McCormick, Robert E & Tollison, Robert D, 1978. "Legislatures as Unions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(1), pages 63-78, February.
  11. Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andre Shleifer, 2000. "The Regulation of Entry," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1904, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Myerson Roger B., 1993. "Effectiveness of Electoral Systems for Reducing Government Corruption: A Game-Theoretic Analysis," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 118-132, January.
  13. Martin Osborne & Jeffry Rosenthal & Matthew A. Turner, 1998. "Meetings with costly participation," Working Papers mturner-98-02, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  14. Bradbury, John Charles & Crain, W. Mark, 2001. "Legislative organization and government spending: cross-country evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 309-325, December.
  15. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
  16. Alessandra Casella, 2002. "Storable Votes," NBER Working Papers 9189, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Hans Gersbach, 2009. "Democratic Mechanisms," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1436-1469, December.
  18. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-31, July.
  19. Diermeier, Daniel & Feddersen, Timothy J., 1998. "Comparing constitutions:: Cohesion and distribution in legislatures," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 665-672, May.
  20. 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 139-56, March.
  21. Edward Clarke, 1977. "Some aspects of the demand-revealing process," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 37-49, March.
  22. Edward Clarke, 1971. "Multipart pricing of public goods," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 17-33, September.
  23. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, December.
  24. Groves, Theodore & Loeb, Martin, 1975. "Incentives and public inputs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 211-226, August.
  25. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Gary-Bobo, Robert, 2008. "On the Optimal Number of Representatives," IDEI Working Papers 86, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  26. George J. Mailath & Andrew Postlewaite, 1990. "Asymmetric Information Bargaining Problems with Many Agents," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 351-367.
  27. Gordon Tullock, 1977. "Practical problems and practical solutions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 27-35, March.
  28. Ulrich Erlenmaier & Hans Gersbach, 2001. "Flexible Majority Rules," CESifo Working Paper Series 464, CESifo Group Munich.
  29. Daron Acemoglu & Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2007. "Political Economy of Mechanisms," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000886, UCLA Department of Economics.
  30. John Charles Bradbury & W. Mark Crain, 2002. "Bicameral Legislatures and Fiscal Policy," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 68(3), pages 646-659, January.
  31. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "Choosing How to Choose: Self Stable Majority Rules," Microeconomics 0211003, EconWPA.
  32. Hinich, Melvin J. & Ledyard, John O. & Ordeshook, Peter C., 1972. "Nonvoting and the existence of equilibrium under majority rule," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 144-153, April.
  33. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1011-1048.
  34. Moulin, H., 1986. "Characterizations of the pivotal mechanism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 53-78, October.
  35. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2007. "Auctions and Informaton Acquisition: Sealed-bid or Dynamic Formats?," Post-Print halshs-00754227, HAL.
  36. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Gary-Bobo, Robert J., 2002. "On Robust Constitution Design," CEPR Discussion Papers 3303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  37. Gary-Bobo, Robert J. & Jaaidane, Touria, 2000. "Polling mechanisms and the demand revelation problem," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 203-238, May.
  38. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2007. "Red Tape and Delayed Entry," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 5(2-3), pages 444-458, 04-05.
  39. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  40. Myerson, Roger B., 1999. "Theoretical comparisons of electoral systems," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 671-697, April.
  41. Dino Gerardi & Leeat Yariv, 2007. "Information Acquisition in Committees," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1411R, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  42. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Openness, country size and government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 305-321, September.
  43. Coughlin, Peter & Nitzan, Shmuel, 1981. "Electoral outcomes with probabilistic voting and Nash social welfare maxima," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 113-121, February.
  44. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  45. Dennis Mueller & Robert Tollison & Thomas Willett, 1972. "Representative democracy via random selection," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 57-68, March.
  46. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
  47. Ledyard, John O., 1978. "Incentive compatibility and incomplete information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 171-189, June.
  48. Holmstrom, Bengt, 1979. "Groves' Scheme on Restricted Domains," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1137-44, September.
  49. Auriol, Emmanuelle & Warlters, Michael, 2005. "Taxation base in developing countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 625-646, April.
  50. Hao Li, 2001. "A Theory of Conservatism," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 617-636, June.
  51. Lindbeck, Assar & Weibull, Jorgen W., 1993. "A model of political equilibrium in a representative democracy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 195-209, June.
  52. Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters, and Multiple Lobbies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 162-189, March.
  53. Nicola Persico, 2004. "Committee Design with Endogenous Information," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 165-191.
  54. John Morgan & Felix Várdy, 2011. "On the buyability of voting bodies," Journal of Theoretical Politics, SAGE Publishing, vol. 23(2), pages 260-287, April.
  55. John Morgan & Phillip C. Stocken, 2008. "Information Aggregation in Polls," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 864-96, June.
  56. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:692. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.