It has turned out that all voting rules fail on some intuitively plausible desiderata. This has led some political scientists to argue that the notion of the will of the people is profoundly ambiguous and the absence of voting equilibria a generic state of affairs. As a constructive remedy to this some authors have introduced the idea of deliberative democracy. This view of democracy has much to recommend itself, most importantly the emphasis on individuals in devising the decision alternatives. Some empirical evidence also suggests that the deliberative institutions provide an escape from some of the most notorious incompatibility results in social choice theory. We shall critically examine this suggestion. The view emerging from this examination is that social choice theory and deliberative democracy are complementary, not competing approaches to democratic decision making.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.