Information, Participation, and Choice: An Economic Theory of Democracy in Perspective

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Bernard Grofman
University of Michigan Press, 1995 - Business & Economics - 285 pages
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Anthony Downs's An Economic Theory of Democracy is one of the handful of books that reshaped political science in the post-World War II period. Information, Participation, and Choice traces the influence of Downs's ideas on subsequent research on voters, candidates, and parties in the United States and elsewhere.
Since their publication in 1957, Downs's seminal ideas -- tweedledum and tweedledee politics and the "rationality" of political ignorance and nonparticipation on the part of voters--have shaped an ongoing debate about how politics actually work. The debate pits a public-choice model inspired by microeconomic precepts against a traditional textbook model that presumes a responsible, informed, and civic-minded citizenry and a set of elected officials motivated by concern for the public interest and policy convictions.
The essays comprising Information, Participation, and Choice, by leading political scientists and economists, provide both a summary of Downs's key theoretical insights and an empirical examination of how well models inspired by Downs accurately describe U.S. political competition for Congress and the presidency.
Bernard Grofman is Professor of Political Science and Social Psychology, University of California, Irvine.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Information Shortcuts and the Reasoning Voter
17
Downsian Thresholds and the Theory of Political Advertising
37
Informationpooling Models of Electoral Politics
55
What the Downsian Voter Weighs A Reassessment of the Costs and Benefits of Action
67
Political Equilibrium under Group Identification
81
Is Turnout the Paradox That Ate Rational Choice Theory?
93
The Spatial Model and Elections
107
A Rational Choice Model of the President and VicePresident as a Package Deal
173
Toward an InstitutionRich Theory of Political Competition with a Supply Side Component
179
The Origins of An Economic Theory of Democracy
197
The Early Impact of Downss An Economic Theory of Democracy on American Political Science
201
An Economic Theory of Democracy as a Theory of Policy
209
Downsian Logic and the Comparative Study of Party Systems
231
On the Gentle Art of Rational Choice Bashing
239
References
243

A Revised Probabilistic Spatial Model of Elections Theory and Evidence
125
What This Campaign Is All about Is A Rational Choice Alternative to the Downsian Spatial Model of Elections
141
Adaptive Parties and Spatial Voting Theory
161

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About the author (1995)

Grofman is Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Irvine. He has a PhD in Political Science.

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