Does Political Representation through Parties Decrease Voters' Acceptance of Decisions?
Are decisions by political parties more or less accepted than direct-democratic decisions? The literature on parties as brand names or labels suggests that the existence of political parties lowers information and transaction costs of voters by providing ideological packages. Building on this important argument, we posit that this informational rationale for parties is not universally applicable and is contingent on the context of the decision that is made. Intermediary political decision-making institutions may impose additional costs on voters in situations where the decision is perceived to be personally important to the individual voter. We conduct an experimental online vignette study to substantiate these claims. The results imply that a combination of representative democracy and direct democracy, conditional on the distribution of issue importance among the electorate, is optimal with regard to acceptance of a decision.
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- Becker, Gary S., 1978. "The Economic Approach to Human Behavior," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226041124, December.
- Martinelli, Cesar, 2006.
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Elsevier, vol. 129(1), pages 225-251, July.
- Cesar Martinelli, 2002. "Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?," Working Papers 0210, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
- César Martinelli, 2004. "Would Rational Voters Acquire Costly Information?," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000593, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
- Benjamin A. Olken, 2008. "Direct Democracy and Local Public Goods: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 14123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Scott Ashworth & Ethan Bueno de Mesquita, 2008. "Informative Party Labels With Institutional and Electoral Variation," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 20(3), pages 251-273, July. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
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