In this paper we present a new analytical model of a Parliament and investigate the beneficial effects of the selection of legislators by lot in order to reduce some of the drawbacks of modern representative democracies. Resorting to sortition for the selection of public officers used to be in the past a popular way of taming factionalism in public affairs. Factionalism is assumed to be detrimental since public officers tend to favour their own faction instead of pursuing the general interest. In this respect our mathematical model shows in a rigorous way how it is possible to improve the efficiency of a Parliament by introducing the use of sortition to select part of its members. It will be shown that, starting from a Parliament working with two parties (or coalitions), where the costs of representative democracy are quite apparent through the detrimental effects of party discipline, one can beneficially move towards a Parliament where independent, randomly selected legislators sit alongside elected members. In particular, we show that increasing the number of independent legislators up to a critical point enhances the efficiency of the Parliament and puts into check the factionalism likely to arise from party discipline.
In ancient Greece, the cradle of democracy, governing bodies were largely selected by lot. The aim of this device was to avoid typical degenerations of any representative institution. In modern democracies, however, the standard is choosing representatives by vote through the Party system. Debate over efficiency of Parliament has therefore been centred on voting systems, on their impact on parliamentary performances and, ultimately, on the efficiency of economic system. In this paper, rediscovering the old Greek wisdom and recalling a famous diagram about human nature by C.M.Cipolla, we show how the injection of a measure of randomness improves the efficiency of a parliamentary institution. In particular, we develop an agent based model of a prototypical Parliament and find an analytical expression, whose predictions are confirmed by the simulations, that determines the exact number of randomly selected legislators, in an otherwise elected parliament, required to optimize its aggregate performance (number of approved acts times average social gain) after that free elections would have established the relative percentage of the two Parties or Coalitions. This result is also in line with the recent discovery that, under certain conditions, the adoption of random promotion strategies improves the efficiency of a human hierarchical organization. ....
Democrazia a Sorte. Quali scenari possibili?
Montecitorio, Roma (21/07/2016)
Camera dei Deputati, Roma (15/07/2019)
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