On the Optimal Number of Representatives

Auriol, Emmanuelle and Gary-Bobo, Robert J. (2012) On the Optimal Number of Representatives. Public Choice, 153. pp. 419-445.

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Official URL: http://tse-fr.eu/pub/24305


We propose a normative theory of the number of representatives based on a model of a representative democracy. We derive a formula giving the number of representatives as proportional to the square root of total population. Simple tests of the formula on a sample of a 100 countries yield good results. We then discuss the appropriateness of the number of representatives in some countries. It seems that the United States has too few representatives, while France and Italy have too many. The excess number of representatives matters: it is positively correlated with indicators of red tape and barriers to entrepreneurship.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: December 2012
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Representative democracy – Number of representatives – Constitution design – Incentives
JEL codes: D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
H11 - Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government
H40 - General
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2014 17:18
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:22
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:24305
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/15124

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