Collective Selection of Representatives and the Democracy Effect
27 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017
Date Written: March 13, 2017
It is known that being involved in democratic decision-making of a policy affects people’s level of cooperation in dilemma situations, even if selection bias is controlled for. Past experimental work used direct democracy as the form of the decision-making process. But is there such a democracy effect when people democratically select representatives that take some action on behalf of them in the future? We let subjects play a real-effort task in a group and then one representative distributed group total payoffs among their members. The representatives were selected either by subjects’ votes or by the computer randomly in each group. Our data indicates that there is no (or at most negative) impact of representative democracy on subjects’ behavior. This may mean that the democracy effect seen in the past experiments is driven by direct democracy.
Keywords: experiment, cooperation, dilemma, democracy
JEL Classification: C92, D72, D78, H41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation