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A Model of Deliberation Based on Rawls’s Political Liberalism

58 Pages Posted: 29 May 2010 Last revised: 13 Feb 2012

Mostapha Benhenda

Ecole Normale Superiéure (ENS)

Date Written: May 27, 2010


In this paper, we present a model of deliberation based on Rawls’s political liberalism. Our formalization gives a new perspective on his political theory. Moreover, we obtain quantitative results on political deliberation under Rawlsian rules. Finally, we elaborate two arguments in favor of Rawlsian deliberation: first, deliberation is epistemically valuable when, all other things being equal, it tends to favor the better view, because in this case, deliberators settle on the better view with high probability. Second, results suggest that when citizens deliberate within the limits of Rawlsian public reason, they can reach unanimity faster than when they deliberate outside these limits.

Keywords: deliberation, formal model, political liberalism, Rawls

JEL Classification: C69, D70, D71, D72, D74, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Benhenda, Mostapha, A Model of Deliberation Based on Rawls’s Political Liberalism (May 27, 2010). Social Choice and Welfare, Vol. 36, pp. 121–178, 2011. Available at SSRN:

Mostapha Benhenda (Contact Author)

Ecole Normale Superiéure (ENS) ( email )

24 rue Lhomond
Paris Cedex 05, F-75230

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