Inflated Expectations of Democracy: Towards a Systematic Explanation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Democracy has intrinsic value because it pursues the ideals of freedom, equality, and popular sovereignty which legitimate representative government, and it has instrumental value because modern democratic states are also prosperous. Yet, dissatisfaction with the ability of democracy, in the sense of majority rule to determine an electoral winner, to empower citizens and secure their economic well-being seem to be almost permanent. Using intuitions from institutional economics and social choice theory, the paper attributes disappointment with electoral democracy to its foundational design and specifically the process of aggregation of preferences, imperfectly defined voter preferences, imperfect information of voters, the impossibility of a social choice equilibrium, voting for politicians organized in political parties, intra-voter inequality, intra-candidate inequality, and the lack of an ethical meaning in the aggregation of votes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPower and Responsibility
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives for the 21st Century in Honor of Manfred J. Holler
EditorsMartin Leroch, Florian Rupp
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)ISBN 978-3-031-23015-8 (eBook)
ISBN (Print)ISBN 978-3-031-23014-1
Publication statusPublished online - 22 Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2023. All rights reserved.


  • Democracy
  • Political Institutions
  • Voting; Social Choice Equilibrium
  • Political Agency; Political inequality;
  • Democratic Norms
  • Political inequality
  • Social choice equilibrium
  • Voting
  • Democratic norms
  • Political agency
  • Political institutions


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