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On the Optimal Number of Representatives

Emmanuelle Auriol () and Robert Gary-Bobo ()

No 6417, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We propose a normative theory of the number of representatives based on a stylized model of a representative democracy. We derive a simple formula, a "square-root theory" which gives the number of representatives in parliament as proportional to the square root of total population. Simple econometric tests of the formula on a sample of a 100 countries yield surprisingly good results. These results provide a benchmark for a discussion of the appropriateness of the number of representatives in some countries. It seems that the United States have 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, barriers to entrepreneurship and perceived corruption.

Keywords: Constitution Design; Incentives; Number of Representatives; Representative Democracy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D7 H11 H40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
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Related works:
Journal Article: On the optimal number of representatives (2012) Downloads
Working Paper: On the Optimal Number of Representatives (2008) Downloads
Working Paper: On the Optimal Number of Representatives (2000) Downloads
Working Paper: On the Optimal Number of Representatives (1998) Downloads
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