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An Economic Model of Representative Democracy

Timothy Besley and Stephen Coate
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Vol. 112, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 85-114
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2951277
Page Count: 30
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An Economic Model of Representative Democracy
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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.

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