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Framing DemocracyA Behavioral Approach to Democratic Theory$
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Jamie Terence Kelly

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155197

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155197.001.0001

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Behavioral Democratic Theory

Behavioral Democratic Theory

(p.59) Chapter Three Behavioral Democratic Theory
Framing Democracy

Jamie Terence Kelly

Princeton University Press

This chapter lays out the advantages of a behavioral approach to democratic theory. In particular, it contrasts this approach with three more common ways of treating the decision making of citizens in a democracy. In order to bring out the contrast, it uses the notion of epistemic competence to stand in for the various cognitive skills and abilities that are required for democracy to function properly. It shows that rejecting the rational actor model of human decision making allows us to focus on three important theoretical considerations. The chapter proceeds in three stages. First, it proposes the notion of epistemic competence as a way to simplify discussion of the empirical data relevant to the author's account. Next, it considers and reject three familiar approaches to democratic theory. Finally, it explains the benefits of a behavioral approach to normative theories of democracy.

Keywords:   behavioral approach, democratic theory, decision making, democracy, epistemic competence

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