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Deliberation, single-peakedness, and the possibility of meaningful democracy: evidence from deliberative polls

List, Christian, Luskin, Robert, Fishkin, James and McLean, Iain (2013) Deliberation, single-peakedness, and the possibility of meaningful democracy: evidence from deliberative polls. The Journal of Politics, 75 (1). pp. 80-95. ISSN 0022-3816

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Abstract

Majority cycling and related social choice paradoxes are often thought to threaten the meaningfulness of democracy. Deliberation can protect against majority cycles—not by inducing unanimity, which is unrealistic, but by bringing preferences closer to single-peakedness. We present the first empirical test of this hypothesis, using data from Deliberative Polls. Comparing preferences before and after deliberation, we find increases in proximity to single-peakedness. The increases are greater for lower- versus higher-salience issues and for individuals who seem to have deliberated more versus less effectively. They are not merely a by-product of increased substantive agreement (which in fact does not generally increase). Our results are important, quite apart from their implications for majority cycling, because single-peakedness can be naturally interpreted in terms of an underlying issue dimension, which can both clarify the debate and allow a majority-winning alternative to be interpreted as a median choice and thus as an attractive “compromise.”

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJourna...
Additional Information: © 2012 Southern Political Science Association
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Research centres and groups > Centre for Philosophy of Natural and Social Science (CPNSS)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2012 09:24
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/46863/

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