European Journal of Political Research

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 291–307 | Cite as

Representation or abdication? How citizens use institutions to help delegation succeed

  • Arthur Lupia
  • Mathew D. Mccubbins


Modern democracy requires delegation. Oneproblem with delegation is that principals andagents often have conflicting interests. A secondproblem is that principals lack informationabout their agents. Many scholars conclude that theseproblems cause delegation to become abdication. Wereject this conclusion and introduce a theory ofdelegation that supports a different conclusion. Thetheory clarifies when interest conflicts andinformation problems do (and do not) turn delegationinto abdication. We conclude by arguing that remediesfor common delegation problems can be embedded in thedesign of electoral, legislative, and bureaucraticinstitutions. The culmination of our efforts is asimple, but general, statement about when citizens andlegislators can (and cannot) control their agents.


Modern Democracy Interest Conflict Common Delegation Delegation Problem 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arthur Lupia
    • 1
  • Mathew D. Mccubbins
    • 1
  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA

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