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Democratic Rulemaking

December 06, 2016 by John M. De Figueiredo, Edward Stiglitz

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To what extent is agency rulemaking democratic? This paper examines the soundness of and empirical support for the leading theories that purport to endow the administrative state with democratic legitimacy. We study the theories in light of two normative benchmarks: a "democratic" benchmark based on voter preferences, and a "republican" benchmark based on the preferences of elected representatives. We conclude that all of the proposed theories lack empirical support and many have substantial conceptual flaws; we point to directions for possible future research.