An Economic Theory of Democracy
Harper, 1957 - 310 pages
This book seeks to elucidate its subject-the governing of democratic state-by making intelligible the party politics of democracies. Downs treats this differently than do other students of politics. His explanations are systematically related to, and deducible from, precisely stated assumptions about the motivations that attend the decisions of voters and parties and the environment in which they act. He is consciously concerned with the economy in explanation, that is, with attempting to account for phenomena in terms of a very limited number of facts and postulates. He is concerned also with the central features of party politics in any democratic state, not with that in the United States or any other single country.
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the degree of confidence with which a decision-maker makes his decision. If
added knowledge clarifies the situation in his mind and points more strongly to
one alternative as being the most rational, his confidence varies directly with the
But in our model, as in the real world, regardless of how many data are available,
the amount a rational decision-maker can employ for any one decision is strictly
limited because (1) the human mind, even when abetted by calculating ...
makers to select only part of the total available information for use in making
choices. ... If the user is to know what his information really means in terms of his
decision- making, he must be sure these others have the same principles of ...