Mechanisms of Democracy

Mechanisms of Democracy : Institutional Design Writ Small

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What institutional arrangements should a well-functioning constitutional democracy have? Most of the relevant literatures in law, political science, political theory, and economics address this question by discussing institutional design writ large. In this book, Adrian Vermeule moves beyond these debates, changing the focus to institutional design writ small. In established constitutional polities, Vermeule argues that law can and should - and to some extent already does - provide mechanisms of democracy: a repertoire of small-scale institutional devices and innovations that can have surprisingly large effects, promoting democratic values of impartial, accountable and deliberative government. Examples include legal rules that promote impartiality by depriving officials of the information they need to act in self-interested ways; voting rules that create the right kind and amount of accountability for political officials and judges; and legislative rules that structure deliberation, in part by adjusting the conditions under which deliberation occurs transparently or instead secretly.
Drawing upon a range of social science tools from economics, political science, and other disciplines, Vermeule carefully describes the mechanisms of democracy and indicates the conditions under which they can succeed.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 157.48 x 233.68 x 27.94mm | 476.27g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195333462
  • 9780195333466
  • 2,125,999

Table of contents

Introductionl ; I. Impartiality and Uncertainty ; II. Accountability and Voting ; III. Deliberation and Transparency ; Conclusion: Institutional Design as a Going Concern ; Acknowledgements & Sources
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Review quote

Once again, Vermeule is original and illuminating. It is one of those rare books that changes the angle from which we view familiar issues."
Larry Solum, John E. Cribbet Professor of Law & Professor of Philosophy, University of Illinois College of Law There has been a recent clutch of books on the institutional design of deliberative institutions, some more theoretical, others more practical. Vermeule combines a nuanced sense of the larger theoretical landscape with a real comparative advantage on the finer details of institutional groundings for that project. His book thus makes a distinct, invaluable contribution to that recent clutch of agenda-setting books. It may well end up being the most important of
Robert Goodin, Australian National University A truly brilliant book, and a unique one. Vermeule illuminates many of the most important questions in democratic theory * the achievement of transparency, the use of voting rules, the idea of a "veil of uncertainty," the delegation of authority, and much more. An extraordinary contribution to political science and law, Mechanisms of Democracy also offers countless concrete lessons for those involved in designing constitutions *
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