Democratic Devices and Desires (Theories of Institutional Design)

Democratic Devices and Desires (Theories of Institutional Design)

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Geoffrey Brennan, Alan Hamlin
Cambridge University Press, 4/13/2000
EAN 9780521630207, ISBN10: 0521630207

Hardcover, 278 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 1.8 cm
Language: English
Originally published in English

This book offers an 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.

1. Introduction
Part I. Democratic Desires
2. On human nature
beyond homo economicus
3. Moral dispositions
4. Economizing on virtue
5. Political mechanisms
6. Mechanisms and dispositional choice
7. Problems of democratic politics
Part II. Democratic Devices
8. Voting and elections
9. Political representation
10. Political parties
11. The separation of powers
12. The division of power.