This work offers a set of extended interpretations of Madison's argument in Federalist X of 1787, using ideas from social choice theory and from the work of Douglass North, Mancur Olson, and William Riker. Its focus is not on rational choice theory itself, but on the use of this theory as a heuristic device to better understand democratic institutions. The treatment adapts a formal model of elections to consider rapid constitutional change at periods when societies face quandaries. The topics explored in the book include Britain's reorganization of its fiscal system in the eighteenth century to prosecute its wars with France; the Colonies' decision to declare independence in 1776; Madison's argument about the 'probability of fit choice' during the Ratification period of 1787-88; the argument between Hamilton and Jefferson in 1798-1800 over the long run organization of the US economy and the election of Lincoln in 1860.
Norman Schofield is Taussig Professor of Political Economy at Washington University in St. Louis. He has served as Fulbright Distinguished Professor of American Studies at Humboldt University Berlin in 2003-04, a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford in 1988-89, and Shrman Fairchild Distinguished Scholar at the California Institute of Technology in 1983-84. Professor Schofield is the author of Mathematical Methods in Economics and Social Choice (2003), Multiparty Government (coauthored with Michael Laver, 1990), and Social Choice and Democracy (1985). He received the William Riker Prize in 2002 for contributions to political theory and is co-recipient with Gary Miller of the Jack L. Walker Prize for the best article on political organizations and parties in the American Political Science Review for 2002-04.
Preface; 1. Constitutional quandaries and rational choice; 2. Power, prosperity and social choice; 3. Franklin and the War of Independence: 1776-1783; 4. Madison, Jefferson and condorcet; 5. Lincoln and the Civil War; 6. Johnson and the critical realignment of 1964; 7. Keynes and the Atlantic constitution; 8. Preferences and beliefs; 9. Political change; 10. Notes; 11. Figures and tables.