Preferences and Democracy

Preferences and Democracy : Villa Colombella Papers

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I. Until about a dozen years ago, the economic analysis of the relationship between political preferences and political demands was a rather straightforward, if dull, subject. The most common assumption was that the only political instrument available to citizens was the vote. Given this assumption, the analyst could express the outcome of the voting process in one of two ways. One possibility was to make the heroic assumptions necessary to obtain the median voter theorem, in which case, the political demands of the citizenry are simply the preferences of the median voter. The alternative was to make Arrow's Impossibility Theorem in which case even though individual preferences are well ordered, no collective preference function exists. On either of these approaches, institutions such as interest groups, political parties, or the structures ofpolitical representation played no role in the analysis. The work of "Chicago" scholars especially George Stigler, Gary Becker and Sam Peltzman took a different approach and emphasized the importanceoforganizationinmakingpoliticaldemandseffective, shifting thefocus from voting topolitical "pressure" byinterestgroups. However, in these models, voting as an instrument of political action simply disappears and the relationship between interest group pressures and electoral processes has never been clarified.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 388 pages
  • 160 x 238.8 x 27.9mm | 816.48g
  • Dordrecht, Netherlands
  • English
  • 1993 ed.
  • IX, 388 p.
  • 079239321X
  • 9780792393214

Table of contents

Introduction. Part One: Unsatisfied Political Demands. Unpopular Policies and the Theory of Representative Democracy; P. Salmon. Equilibrium Political Inaction in a Democracy; P. Howitt, R. Wintrobe. Part Two: Bridges between Demand and Supply. A Theory of Demand for Governmentally Supplied Goods and Services; A. Breton. Organized Groups and the (Mis?)transmission of Public Preferences; R. Young. Public Goods Provision Institutions; M. Bilodeau. Part Three: Equilibrium Political Platforms: Convergence and Divergence. The Silent Revolution of Probabilistic Voting; J.-D. Lafay. Pivotal Voters and Economic Models of Party Equilibrium; G. Galeotti. Political Exchange and the Allocation of Surplus: A Model of Two-Party Competition; M. Grillo, M. Polo. Part Four: The Behaviour of Political Parties. Fourteen Ways to Credibly Escape a Credible Commitment (and still get Re-elected); R. Wintrobe. Issues and Party Alignments: A Review with Canadian Examples; R. Johnston. Part Five: Redistribution. The Demand for the Public Sector in the Rich Welfare State of Denmark: Two Polls from 1990; P. Nannestad, M. Paldam. Voting Rights and the Demand for Public Expenditure: An Analysis of the Redistributive Impact of Universal Suffrage; G. Brosio, C. Marchese. Vertical Redistribution and the Franchise: A Preliminary Investigation using Computational General Equilibrium Modelling; S.L. Winer, T. Rutherford. Index.
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