The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Need to Know?

Front Cover
Voters cannot answer simple survey questions about politics. Legislators cannot recall the details of legislation. Jurors cannot comprehend legal arguments. Observations such as these are plentiful and several generations of pundits and scholars have used these observations to claim that voters, legislators, and jurors are incompetent. Are these claims correct? Do voters, jurors, and legislators who lack political information make bad decisions? In The Democratic Dilemma, Professors Arthur Lupia and Mathew McCubbins explain how citizens make decisions about complex issues. Combining insights from economics, political science, and the cognitive sciences, they seek to develop theories and experiments about learning and choice. They use these tools to identify the requirements for reasoned choice - the choice that a citizen would make if she possessed a certain (perhaps, greater) level of knowledge. The results clarify debates about voter, juror, and legislator competence and also reveal how the design of political institutions affects citizens' abilities to govern themselves effectively.
 

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Contents

Knowledge and the Foundation of Democracy
1
Democracy Delegation and Reasoned Choice
3
A Preview of Our Theory
4
Plan of the Book
13
Theory
15
How People Learn
17
Attention This is How We Learn
21
The Cognitive Stock Market
30
Experimental Design
104
Experiments on Persuasion and Reasoned Choice
112
Conclusion
144
Laboratory Experiments on Delegation
149
Experimental Design
150
Experiment on Delegation
158
Conclusion
182
A Survey Experiment on the Conditions for Persuasion
184

Attention and Connections
35
Conclusion
36
How People Learn from Others
39
The Aristotelian Theories of Persuasion
40
Our Theory of Persuasion
43
Dynamic Implications
59
Persuasive Implications
62
Conclusion
64
What People Learn from Others
68
The Conditions for Enlightenment
69
The Conditions for Deception
70
How We Choose Whom to Believe
74
Conclusion
76
Delegation and Democracy
79
The Dilemma of Delegation
80
A Theory of Delegation with Communication
82
What it All Means
89
Conclusion
92
Experiments
95
Theory Predictions and the Scientific Method
97
Laboratory Experiments on Information Persuasion and Choice
101
Description of the Experiment
186
Analysis
191
Conclusion
201
Implications for Institutional Design
203
The Institutions of Knowledge
205
Electoral Institutions
206
Legislative Institutions
210
Bureaucratic Institutions
215
Legal Institutions
223
Unenlightening Democratic Institutions
225
Conclusions
227
Afterword
229
Appendices
231
Appendix to Chapter 2
233
Appendix to Chapter 3
240
Appendix to Chapter 5
257
References
261
Author Index
277
Subject Index
281
Copyright

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