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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Advocacy of new forums for democratic deliberation should take into account the deliberative functions of the regular policymaking institutions of representative democracies. In view of the important consequences for citizens, research on institutional deliberation focuses mainly on the ability to produce intelligent decisions. It employs a wide range of approaches to assess that ability. We review diverse literatures on institutional deliberation, with attention to legislatures (especially the US Congress), chief executives, bureaucratic agencies, courts, and popular referendums. These institutions employ a variety of distinctive processes and routinely assess voluminous and detailed information. Deficiencies in institutional deliberation often arise from imbalanced or uninformed constituency pressures. Thus institutional deliberation appears to benefit from moderate insulation from public and interest-group demands. Popular referendums have mixed effects on the intelligence of policymaking. In some circumstances, regular policymaking institutions can create opportunity for more deliberative popular forums to play effective roles in policy development.

Keywords: legislatures, executives, bureaucratic agencies, courts, referendums, institutional deliberation

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