Skip to content

Your Cart


You have 0 items in your cart.

Register Sign in Wishlist
Democracy and Decision

Democracy and Decision
The Pure Theory of Electoral Preference

$45.99 (P)

  • Date Published: March 1997
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521585248

$ 45.99 (P)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Do voters in large scale democracies reliably vote for the electoral outcomes most in their own interest? Much of the literature on voting predicts that they do, but this book argues that fully rational voters will not, in fact, consistently vote for the political outcomes they prefer. The authors critique the dominant interest-based theory of voting and offer a competing theory, which they term an "expressive" theory of electoral politics. This theory is shown to be more coherent and more consistent with actually observed voting behavior. In particular, the theory does a better job of explaining the propensity of democratic regimes to make war, the predominance of moral questions on democratic regimes to make war, the predominance of moral questions on democratic political agendas, and the distribution of government resources in democratic systems. This important book offers a compelling challenge to the central premises of the prevailing theories of voting behavior and should serve as the basis for fundamental reevaluation in the field.

    • A controversial view of the theory of electoral preference
    • Draws on a wide range of election data
    • Authors well known in this field of study
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "[This] book contains a number of fascinating discussions of political rhetoric, contract theories, political institutions, and democratic morality." Ethics

    "Whatever your methodological stance, if you are interested in electoral politics, this is a book worth reading. Unlike most positive political theory, sometimes seemingly intentionally written up so as to remain incomprehensible to most political scientists, Democracy and Decision is lively and well written. Because the ideas in it suggest potentially testable alternative models in so many substantive domains, it is also a great book to give to graduate students looking for thesis topics." American Political Science Review

    "Few topics are more important to maintaining a liberal social order than is the democratic political process, and few recent books are likely to do more to motivate fresh thinking on this process than Democracy and Decision." Public Choice

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: March 1997
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521585248
    • length: 252 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Ethics, politics and public choice
    2. The logic of electoral choice
    3. The nature of expressive returns
    4. The analytics of decisiveness
    5. The theory of electoral outcome: implications for public choice theory
    6. From anecdote to analysis
    7. Interpreting the numbers
    8. Consensus, efficiency and contractarian justification
    9. Paternalism, self-paternalism and the state
    10. Towards a democratic morality
    11. Constitutional implications

  • Editors

    Geoffrey Brennan, Australian National University, Canberra

    Loren Lomasky, Bowling Green State University, Ohio

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.