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Sean Ingham
University of California, San Diego
  1. Republican Freedom, Popular Control, and Collective Action.Sean Ingham & Frank Lovett - forthcoming - American Journal of Political Science.
    Republicans hold that people are dominated merely in virtue of others' having unconstrained abilities to frustrate their choices. They argue further that public officials may dominate citizens unless subject to popular control. Critics identify a dilemma. To maintain the possibility of popular control, republicans must attribute to the people an ability to control public officials merely in virtue of the possibility that they might coordinate their actions. But if the possibility of coordination suffices for attributing abilities to groups, then, even (...)
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  2. The Effects of Competence-Based Suffrage Restrictions: Toward a Full Accounting.Sean Ingham & David Wiens - manuscript
    Democratic citizens often lack rudimentary knowledge about their political institutions, elected leaders, and the policies their leaders choose. Epistemic democrats contend democracies produce reasonable decisions despite the ignorance of the typical voter; against them, epistocrats claim that non-democratic regimes in which more knowledgeable citizens are put in charge would produce better decisions. We explain the shortcomings with the arguments on both sides. Epistocrats may be right that all else being equal, a more competent electorate would produce better decisions, and epistemic (...)
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  3. Popular Rule in Schumpeter's Democracy.Sean Ingham - 2016 - Political Studies 64 (4):1071-1087.
    In this article, it is argued that existing democracies might establish popular rule even if Joseph Schumpeter’s notoriously unflattering picture of ordinary citizens is accurate. Some degree of popular rule is in principle compatible with apathetic, ignorant and suggestible citizens, contrary to what Schumpeter and others have maintained. The people may have control over policy, and their control may constitute popular rule, even if citizens lack definite policy opinions and even if their opinions result in part from elites’ efforts to (...)
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  4.  69
    Social Choice and Popular Control.Sean Ingham - 2016 - Journal of Theoretical Politics 28 (2):331-349.
    In democracies citizens are supposed to have some control over the general direction of policy. According to a pretheoretical interpretation of this idea, the people have control if elections and other democratic institutions compel officials to do what the people want, or what the majority want. This interpretation of popular control fits uncomfortably with insights from social choice theory; some commentators—Riker, most famously—have argued that these insights should make us abandon the idea of popular rule as traditionally understood. This article (...)
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  5.  80
    Why Arrow's Theorem Matters for Political Theory Even If Preference Cycles Never Occur.Sean Ingham - forthcoming - Public Choice.
    Riker (1982) famously argued that Arrow’s impossibility theorem undermined the logical foundations of “populism”, the view that in a democracy, laws and policies ought to express “the will of the people”. In response, his critics have questioned the use of Arrow’s theorem on the grounds that not all configurations of preferences are likely to occur in practice; the critics allege, in particular, that majority preference cycles, whose possibility the theorem exploits, rarely happen. In this essay, I argue that the critics’ (...)
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  6. Theorems and Models in Political Theory: An Application to Pettit on Popular Control.Sean Ingham - 2015 - The Good Society 24 (1):98-117.
    Pettit (2012) presents a model of popular control over government, according to which it consists in the government being subject to those policy-making norms that everyone accepts. In this paper, I provide a formal statement of this interpretation of popular control, which illuminates its relationship to other interpretations of the idea with which it is easily conflated, and which gives rise to a theorem, similar to the famous Gibbard-Satterthwaite theorem. The theorem states that if government policy is subject to popular (...)
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