On the Optimal Number of Representatives

51 Pages Posted: 29 May 2008

See all articles by Emmanuelle Auriol

Emmanuelle Auriol

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE); University of Toulouse I - Advanced Research in Quantitative Applied Development Economics (ARQADE); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Robert J. Gary-Bobo

CREST ENSAE; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: August 2007

Abstract

We propose a normative theory of the number of representatives based on a stylized model of a representative democracy. We derive a simple formula, a "square-root theory" which gives the number of representatives in parliament as proportional to the square root of total population. Simple econometric tests of the formula on a sample of a 100 countries yield surprisingly good results. These results provide a benchmark for a discussion of the appropriateness of the number of representatives in some countries. It seems that the United States have too few representatives, while France and Italy have too many. The excess number of representatives matters: it is positively correlated with indicators of red tape, barriers to entrepreneurship and perceived corruption.

Keywords: Constitution Design, Incentives, Number of Representatives, Representative Democracy

JEL Classification: D7, H11, H40

Suggested Citation

Auriol, Emmanuelle and Gary-Bobo, Robert J., On the Optimal Number of Representatives (August 2007). , Vol. , pp. -, 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1138530

Emmanuelle Auriol (Contact Author)

University of Toulouse 1 - Toulouse School of Economics (TSE) ( email )

Place Anatole-France
Toulouse Cedex, F-31042
France

University of Toulouse I - Advanced Research in Quantitative Applied Development Economics (ARQADE) ( email )

21 Allee de Brienne
Toulouse, 31000
France
+33 5 61 12 85 89 (Phone)
+33 5 61 12 86 37 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.idei.asso.fr/English/ECv/CvChercheurs/E

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Robert J. Gary-Bobo

CREST ENSAE ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France
+33141176031 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.crest.fr/ses.php?user=3042

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

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