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An Economic Theory of Democracy Paperback – January 1, 1957

ISBN-13: 978-0060417505 ISBN-10: 0060417501 Edition: 1st

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An Economic Theory of Democracy + The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Second printing with new preface and appendix (Harvard Economic Studies) + Congress: The Electoral Connection, Second Edition
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Harper and Row; 1st edition (1957)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060417501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060417505
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #583,635 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By George Baily on February 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
Down's Economic Theory of Democracy is an easy to read introdution to the basics of voting theory. It is accessible to the casual reader as well as the hardcore acedemic. It's take on the electoral competition have become staples of high school civis as well as acedemic political theory.
Down's most famous innovation is the result that two party competition leads to both parties offering the same platform in order to maximise votes.
0-----25-----50-----75----100 ----------Rep--Dem-----------
This formulation is actually the Hotelling spatial competition model applied to elections. (I thought the economists may be interested!) Morover it froms the basis fro the median voter theorem.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 2003
Format: Paperback
An Economic Theory of Democracy is among the most influential books in political science. It is also among the most misunderstood. The book has 300 pages of content. The famous median voter theorem represents three of them. The remaining 297 pages involve extensions, limitations and generalizations -- exactly the sort of thing that most critics think it lacks. In the end, the book is really about the problems of limited information rather than about a unidimensional spatial model.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jack on April 5, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was assigned several chapters from this book to read for one of my political science classes. I can't say I've come across any other books like this that describe the nature of electoral politics and realignments when they occur.

My professor did mention that this book revolutionized just how we view the electoral process. A good read, one that I would recommend. Diagrams are useful.
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Format: Paperback
This book was written over 50 years ago, so obviously it's going to be outdated in terms of the state of political science. Nonetheless, it made a crucial contribution for its time. It's biggest contribution is refining the spatial model of political parties and explaining why we see ideological divergence despite the median voter theorem. Some parts of the book don't hold up quite so well 50 years on, but this book still serves as an accessible introduction to the science of electoral politics.
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