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Social choice theory and deliberative democracy : a reconciliation

Dryzek, John S. and List, Christian (2003) Social choice theory and deliberative democracy : a reconciliation. British Journal of Political Science, 33 (1). pp. 1-28. ISSN 1469-2112

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Abstract

The two most influential traditions of contemporary theorizing about democracy, social choice theory and deliberative democracy, are generally thought to be at loggerheads, in that the former demonstrates the impossibility, instability or meaninglessness of the rational collective outcomes sought by the latter. We argue that the two traditions can be reconciled. After expounding the central Arrow and Gibbard-Satterthwaite impossibility results, we reassess their implications, identifying the conditions under which meaningful democratic decision making is possible. We argue that deliberation can promote these conditions, and hence that social choice theory suggests not that democratic decision making is impossible, but rather that democracy must have a deliberative aspect.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://uk.cambridge.org/journals/jps
Additional Information: Published 2003 © Cambridge University Press. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<http://eprints.lse.ac.uk>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2006
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/668/

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