Economics at your fingertips  

Social choice and popular control

Sean Ingham

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2016, vol. 28, issue 2, 331-349

Abstract: In democracies citizens are supposed to have some control over the general direction of policy. According to a pretheoretical interpretation of this idea, the people have control if elections and other democratic institutions compel officials to do what the people want, or what the majority want. This interpretation of popular control fits uncomfortably with insights from social choice theory; some commentators—Riker, most famously—have argued that these insights should make us abandon the idea of popular rule as traditionally understood. This article presents a formal theory of popular control that responds to the challenge from social choice theory. It makes precise a sense in which majorities may be said to have control even if the majority preference relation has an empty core. And it presents a simple game-theoretic model to illustrate how majorities can exercise control in this specified sense, even when incumbents are engaged in purely re-distributive policymaking and the majority rule core is empty.

Keywords: Accountability; popular control; popular will; Riker; social choice theory (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2016
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Journal of Theoretical Politics
Bibliographic data for series maintained by SAGE Publications ().

Page updated 2019-10-20
Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:28:y:2016:i:2:p:331-349