I think I figured it out. Wait, No I didn’t.

The previous article discussing optimal representation was basing its results on a proportional power of the population. I think they were using a factor of 1/3 for their equation. So, if you raise the Population Number to 0.4 and divide by 3, you come up pretty close to what they thought optimal for the US. (I think it depends on what population numbers you use. I came up with 815 using a population of 295,734,134 (2005 est). Using their 807 figure indicates they are looking at a population of 288M)

Of course this doesn’t explain the discrepancy between France and Italy, unless the CIA has the wrong population figures for those countries.  My proportional calculations produced 433 and 425 reps respectively which is still a fair bit less than their numbers. So maybe the proportion is a variable as well?

If you use the 2000 US pop of 281M then the proportion is 2.97 to get the 807 result. But it does nothing to get closer to their France and Italy numbers.



Economist’s View: “Choosing the Optimal Number of Representatives in Modern Democracies”

Economist’s View: “Choosing the Optimal Number of Representatives in Modern Democracies”

Elaine pointed this article out to me.

The authors have plotted out the various democracies population/representative ratios  and have come up with an optimal number. Theirs is POP raised to 0. 4 power. Almost a square-root of the population. Based on the current US population of  300,000,000 that comes to 2460 representatives, about one representative per 122,000 citizens.  Very close to  the number in my previous discussion on this subject.

What I don’t quite agree with in their analysis is the inclusion of Senators or Peers or Upper House members as representatives. Using the US as an example, the Upper House, the Senate, represent the States and not the individual citizens. That is the role of the House of Representatives.

I thought that in most countries the Upper House represents regional groups in a similar manner as the Senate.  The Senate provides two representatives per State, independent of the size or population of the State. They are elected by the citizens of the State today, rather than being appointed by the State as they were initially. Should they still be considered State Representatives? or just some sort of super citizen representative? Presumably, the Senate can put the brakes on run-away populism and the ‘tyranny of the majority’ if the House gets a bee in its bonnet, but if both houses get a bee in the bonnet, then watch out.

I see from the article that determining an optimal number of representatives has been around for a while. It looks like the numbers are getting pretty solid. I’m not sure why their number for US representatives is so much lower than mine.  They say their model shows 807 combined Representatives and Senators, while my calculator shows raising the Population to the .4 power gives 2460. I think 807 is still way to low for a representative democracy of 300,000,000 citizens.

If I have used my calculator properly, 18,500,516 raised to the .4 power is 807.   The more I look at their numbers for other countries, I question the equation they are using.  They say France’s optimal number of Reps is 545, with a population of over 60 million, ( 1 rep/110,000) while Italy’s optimal number is 570 with  population of 58 million (1 rep/101,000). By my calculator that should be 1292 and 1275 respectively (1 rep/46,500 and 1 rep/45,500) Maybe I need to go back and take some remedial math courses and see if I can figure this out.  They mention a banana curve in the article (evidently a base-running technique) need to find out more on that.