Democratic devices and desires

Brennan, Geoffrey and Hamlin, Alan (2000) Democratic devices and desires, Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press, 278pp. (Theories of Institutional Design).


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This book offers a novel account of key features of modern representative democracy. Working from the rational actor tradition, it builds a middle ground between orthodox political theory and the economic analysis of politics. Standard economic models of politics emphasise the design of the institutional devices of democracy as operated by essentially self-interested individuals. This book departs from that model by focusing on democratic desires alongside democratic devices, stressing that important aspects of democracy depend on the motivation of democrats and the interplay between devices and desires. Individuals are taken to be not only rational, but also somewhat moral. The authors argue that this approach provides access to aspects of the debate on democratic institutions that are beyond the narrowly economic model. They apply their analysis to voting, elections, representation, political departments and the separation and division of powers, providing a wide-ranging discussion of the design of democratic institutions

Item Type: Book
ISBNs: 0521630207 (hardback)
0521639778 (paperback)
Related URLs:
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Social Sciences > Economics
ePrint ID: 32943
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2006
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:20

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