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Democracy and Decision: The Pure Theory of Electoral Preference Paperback – March 13, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0521585248 ISBN-10: 0521585244

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Democracy and Decision: The Pure Theory of Electoral Preference + What Americans Know about Politics and Why It Matters + Collective Preferences in Democratic Politics: Opinion Surveys and the Will of the People
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (March 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521585244
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521585248
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #549,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[This] book contains a number of fascinating discussions of political rhetoric, contract theories, political institutions, and democratic morality." Ethics

"Whatever your methodological stance, if you are interested in electoral politics, this is a book worth reading. Unlike most positive political theory, sometimes seemingly intentionally written up so as to remain incomprehensible to most political scientists, Democracy and Decision is lively and well written. Because the ideas in it suggest potentially testable alternative models in so many substantive domains, it is also a great book to give to graduate students looking for thesis topics." American Political Science Review

"Few topics are more important to maintaining a liberal social order than is the democratic political process, and few recent books are likely to do more to motivate fresh thinking on this process than Democracy and Decision." Public Choice

Book Description

Do voters in large scale democracies reliably vote for the electoral outcomes most in their interest? Much of the literature on voting predicts that they do, but this book argues that fully rational voters will not, in fact, consistently vote for the political outcomes they prefer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Donald J. Boudreaux on September 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book changed fundamentally the way I think about democracy. The authors convincingly argue that, because no single vote in a democratic election is likely to determine the outcome of the election, each voter is free to vote according to his or her ideological lights -- that is, each voter is likely to elevate ideological considerations over material ones. Insofar as ideological considerations run counter to a voter's material interests, the Brennan-Lomasky insight is that we cannot predict the outcome of elections merely by identifying the dominant material interest shared by a majority of voters.
This insight is often interpreted as rejecting the public-choice assumption that people behave self-interestedly. But it does no such thing. When it is realized that each voter's vote is inconsequential (as far as the outcome of the election goes), each voter is free to "consume" ideology. As I see it, the Brennan-Lomasky thesis conforms more fully with public-choice fundamentals than does the previous notion that voters always (or typically) vote their narrow material interests.
This book is one of the most important works in political science, and public-choice, published during the past quarter century.
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