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Game Theory, Information, and Deliberative Democracy


  • The authors thank Scott Ashworth, Sandy Gordon, Cathy Hafer, David Stasavage, and participants at the 2006 Princeton Conference on Deliberative Democracy for stimulating discussions and comments on earlier drafts.

Dimitri Landa is Assistant Professor of Politics, New York University, 19 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012 ( Adam Meirowitz is Associate Professor of Politics, Princeton University, Corwin Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544 (


We contend that, with a suitably broad notion of rationality and a diverse set of motivations, the game-theoretic tradition is particularly well suited for generating insights about effects of deliberative institutions and that progress in the development of deliberative democratic theory hinges on making proper sense of the relationship between game-theoretic and normative theoretic approaches to deliberation. To advance this view, we explore the central methodological issues at the core of that relationship and address the arguments raised against the relevance of game-theoretic work on deliberation. We develop a framework for thinking about the differences in how the normative and the game-theoretic approaches frame and answer questions about deliberation and articulate an approach to a deliberative democratic theory that builds on the strengths of both of these theoretic traditions, properly informed by empirical scholarship.