Rational Foundations of Democratic Politics

Democracy is widely accepted today, perhaps as never before, as the most suitable form of government. But what is democracy, and does it always produce good government? Democracy is often associated with the existence of competitive elections. But theory and experience suggest that these are not sufficient for democracy to function reasonably well. In this book, a number of experts from North America and Europe use a rational choice approach to understand the ‘foundations’ of democracy - what makes democracy successful, and why. In doing so, they consider diverse problems of democratic governance such as the importance of morals or virtue in political life, negative advertising, the role of social capital and civil society in sustaining democracy, the constitutional and cultural prerequisites of democracy, and the interaction of democracy and markets.

• Fifth collection in political economy for CUP by these internationally known coeditors and contributors • Major new names include M. Munger and D. Wittman (political science), S. Skaperdas (economics) • Hot topics covered include negative ads, citizens ‘vs.’ consumers, social capital, economic assessment of democratic solidarity, etc.


1. Introduction Albert Breton, Gianluigi Galeotti, Pierre Salmon and Ronald Wintrobe; Part I. Some Problems with Democratic Institutions and Trends in Their Evolution: 2. Demobilization, demoralization and the loosening bonds of electoral politics Michael C. Munger; 3. Turning ‘citizens’ into ‘consumers’: economic growth and the level of public discourse Stergios Skaperdas; 4. Economic and cultural prerequisites for democracy Roger D. Congleton; 5. Civil society and the contemporary social order Frédérique Chaumont-Chancelier; Part II. Morals in Politics: 6. When does altruism overcome the intransitivity of income redistribution? Donald Wittman; 7. Democratic resilience and the necessity of virtue Alan Hamlin; Part III. Social Capital: 8. The optimal level of solidarity Ronald Wintrobe; 9. The bonds of democratic politics - an economic perspective Stefan Voigt; Part IV. The Role of Constitutions: 10. Voting rules: a constitutional quandary Gianluigi Galeotti; 11. Citizens’ sovereignty, constitutional commitments and renegotiation: original vs. continuing agreement Viktor J. Vanberg; 12. Constitutional rules and competitive politics: their effects on secessionism Albert Breton and Pierre Salmon.

Nøkkelord: Samfunn Politikk Demokrati Politisk filosofi