Information, Participation, and Choice: An Economic Theory of Democracy in Perspective
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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Information Shortcuts and the Reasoning Voter
Downsian Thresholds and the Theory of Political Advertising
Informationpooling Models of Electoral Politics
What the Downsian Voter Weighs A Reassessment of the Costs and Benefits of Action
Political Equilibrium under Group Identification
Is Turnout the Paradox That Ate Rational Choice Theory?
The Spatial Model and Elections
A Rational Choice Model of the President and VicePresident as a Package Deal
Toward an InstitutionRich Theory of Political Competition with a Supply Side Component
The Origins of An Economic Theory of Democracy
The Early Impact of Downss An Economic Theory of Democracy on American Political Science
An Economic Theory of Democracy as a Theory of Policy
Downsian Logic and the Comparative Study of Party Systems
On the Gentle Art of Rational Choice Bashing
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action American Political Anthony Downs approach argue argument assume assumption behavior benefits Bernard Grofman campaign promises candidate issue positions challenger chap chapter choose citizens close coalition competence convergence decision Democratic distribution of voters Downs Downs's Downsian model economic policy Economic Theory effect election electoral competition empirical equilibrium evaluate example expected utility factors Glazer goals groups W identifies with groups ideological important incentives incumbent individual induced ideal point interest issue dimensions issue space maximize median voter multidimensional multiparty Ordeshook outcomes party competition party identification party system percent person platform political parties Political Science politicians predict president presidential Prisoner's Dilemma probability problem Public Choice rational choice models rational choice theory rational ignorance Republican Riker social spatial model Theory of Democracy thresholds tion turnout two-party two-party system Uhlaner V. O. Key variable vice-president voter choice voter preferences winning