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Epistemic aspects of representative government

Goodin, Robert E. and Spiekermann, Kai ORCID: 0000-0003-4983-5589 (2012) Epistemic aspects of representative government. European Political Science Review, 4 (3). pp. 303-325. ISSN 1755-7739

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S1755773911000245


The Federalist, justifying the Electoral College to elect the president, claimed that a small group of more informed individuals would make a better decision than the general mass. But the Condorcet Jury Theorem tells us that the more independent, better-than-random voters there are, the more likely it will be that the majority among them will be correct. The question thus arises as to how much better, on average, members of the smaller group would have to be to compensate for the epistemic costs of making decisions on the basis of that many fewer votes. This question is explored in the contexts of referendum democracy, delegate-style representative democracy, and trustee-style representative democracy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2012 10:22
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:23

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