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On Political Representation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 January 1999

GEOFFREY BRENNAN
Affiliation:
Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University
ALAN HAMLIN
Affiliation:
Department of Economics, University of Southampton

Abstract

An essential feature of political representation is that a mediating assembly is set between the citizenry and political decision making. Representation involves indirect decision making or agency. Rational actor political theory often assumes representation in order to focus on problems of a principal–agent kind, but offers only relatively weak arguments for representation. We offer an alternative argument for representation that builds on our broader interpretation of rational actor political theory – an interpretation that emphasizes expressive considerations relative to instrumental considerations, and operates in a richer motivational setting. As well as providing an account of representation, we believe that our approach is capable of re-connecting rational actor political theory to many of the concerns of more traditional political theory.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 1999 Cambridge University Press

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