Sortition, its advocates and its critics: An empirical analysis of citizens’ and MPs’ support for random selection as a democratic reform proposal

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Abstract

This article explores the prospects of an increasingly debated democratic reform: assigning political offices by lot. While this idea is advocated by political theorists and politicians in favour of participatory and deliberative democracy, the article investigates the extent to which citizens and MPs actually endorse different variants of ‘sortition’. We test for differences among respondents’ social status, disaffection with elections and political ideology. Our findings suggest that MPs are largely opposed to sortitioning political offices when their decision-making power is more than consultative, although leftist MPs tend to be in favour of mixed assemblies (involving elected and sortitioned members). Among citizens, random selection seems to appeal above all to disaffected individuals with a lower social status. The article ends with a discussion of the political prospects of sortition being introduced as a democratic reform.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Political Science Review
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • CESPOL
  • CMAP/POL
  • Democratic innovation
  • deliberative democracy
  • democratic innovation
  • parliamentary studies
  • public opinion
  • random selection
  • sortition

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