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Government by Jury

By Hal R. Varian and Theodore C. Bergstrom


(Originally published 1984-11-06) We consider a simple model of social choice where the voters find it costly to determine their true preferences. Since the influence of an individual voter decreases as the group size increases, each individual finds it optimal to invest less time in contemplating his values in larger groups than in smaller groups. This suggests that a desirable social choice mechanism might be to randomly choose a relatively small group of electors to make social decisions, since they would then have more incentive to think carefully about the issues. We investigate this idea of "government by jury" in a simple mathematical model and establish some of its properties

Topics: Social Choice Model, Voters, Central Limit Theorem
Year: 1984
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