Old Weimar Meets New Political Economy: Democratic Representation in the Party State

23 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011 Last revised: 30 Sep 2011

See all articles by Emanuel V. Towfigh

Emanuel V. Towfigh

EBS Law School; Peking University School of Transnational Law; Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods

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Date Written: August 1, 2011


The paper, based on a historic account of the theory of representation in German legal thought, seeks to understand what effect particracy has on democratic representation and thereby links a discourse dating back to the days of the Weimar Republic to the analytical approach to the political process as taken by New Political Economy. It is argued that the idea of representation cannot refer to the people’s will; if we wish to stick to it, we would need to specify what it refers to and how it ought to be designed. Secondly, it is shown that parliamentarians have significant incentives, even without parties, to pursue particular interests, and that these incentives become even more prominent in the party state. Thus, a representative concept of democracy cannot realistically refer to the representation of the entire people. Nor can an individual parliamentarian, a party or the entire parliamentary system be understood as representing the entire people.

Keywords: democratic representation, political parties, party state, public choice theory, German constitutional theory

JEL Classification: D72, D71, K1, H11, H41

Suggested Citation

Towfigh, Emanuel V., Old Weimar Meets New Political Economy: Democratic Representation in the Party State (August 1, 2011). MPI Collective Goods Preprint No. 2011/16, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1919513 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1919513

Emanuel V. Towfigh (Contact Author)

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