Representation Rethought: On Trustees, Delegates, and Gyroscopes in the Study of Political Representation and Democracy

  title={Representation Rethought: On Trustees, Delegates, and Gyroscopes in the Study of Political Representation and Democracy},
  author={Andrew Rehfeld},
  journal={American Political Science Review},
  pages={214 - 230}
  • Andrew Rehfeld
  • Published 1 May 2009
  • Sociology
  • American Political Science Review
The trustee/delegate problem purportedly expresses how closely a representative's votes in the legislature should correspond to their constituents' preferences. In this article, I argue that the usual formulation of this debate collapses three distinctions—aims, source of judgment, and responsiveness—and thus obscures the underlying complexity of the phenomenon. Given its tripartite formulation, the collapse of these distinctions into a binary “trustee/delegate” formulation obscures a more… 

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