Sociology Index

DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT THEORY

Democratic deficit is the gap between the potential democratic control exercised by citizens of a nation and the actual amount of democratic control available because of the transfer of decision making to non-elected agencies.

Many social scientists are of the belief that this democratic deficit has increased substantially because of free trade agreements, the deregulation of corporate activity.

Democratic deficit has also increased because of globalization and the growth of the multinational corporation which is now beyond the ability of any one nation to control and the growth of the super bureaucracy designed to coordinate cross-border activities.

The Democratic Deficit in the European Union - Much Ado about Nothing? 
Christophe Crombez, University of Leuven, Belgium, and Stanford University, USA
This paper studies the democratic deficit in the European Union (EU). It examines what constitutes a democratic deficit, analyzes whether there is one in the EU, and offers suggestions for a solution.

I conclude that the institutional setup of the EU does not lead to policies that are fundamentally undemocratic, and that the composition of its institutions is not inherently less democratic than that of the US political institutions. I also find, however, that a democratic deficit may exist owing to a lack of transparency and an excess of delegation in the legislative process.

Models of Democracy - Elite Attitudes and the Democratic Deficit in the European Union 
Richard S. Katz, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA 
Most current debate about the democratic deficit equates democracy with party government and popular direction of policy (popular sovereignty). Alternative conceptions of democracy, pluralist or veto-group liberalism, are more consistent with European political and social circumstances and with EU institutions.

Culture lag and democratic deficit in Ireland: Or, ‘Dat's outside de terms of d'agreement’ 
J. P. O'Carroll, University College, Cork, Ireland.
The main characteristics of the institutional context of policy making in Ireland are examined and their more latent consequences for community development delineated. The emphasis on partnership at all levels, on nation and, ironically, on community, is shown to contribute more to the legitimation of the state than to the cause of community development. This has created difficulties in responding adequately to new policy issues such as redistribution and immigration.

ICANN and the Concept of Democratic Deficit - DAN HUNTER, University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School, Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 36, Spring 2003 
Abstract: The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) is an institution besieged. It has endeavored to be democratic but its attempts to do so have been disastrous. The typical explanation for this is that the problem is with ICANN: it fails to meet its democratic obligations. My view is that the problem is with our understanding of "democracy." Democracy is an empty concept that fails to describe few, if any, of our genuine political commitments. In the real world, the failings inherent in "democracy" have been papered over by some unusual characteristics of the physical political process. However, in online trans-national institutions like ICANN, democracy is exposed as a poor substitute for a number of other conceptions of our political commitments.

THE SOLUTION TO THE DEMOCRATIC DEFICIT : A NEW TYPE OF GOVERNANCE FOR THE EUROPEAN UNION? - Author: PECH L.
Abstract: Without radically upsetting the institutional and political balance of the Union, the Commission's White Paper on Governance, published 25 July 2001, proposes a new basis for the EU's institutional legitimacy. However, this conceptual re-foundation gives rise to new and fundamental questions. To speak of governance within democracy is indeed unthinkable unless 'governance' is redefined as a form of government where the legitimacy of public action (as well as its efficiency) is made possible by a 'proceduralisation' of law.

The Impact of Democratic Deficits on Electronic Media in Rural Development, Robin Van Koert 
Abstract: In the second half of the 1990s the enthusiasm for the potential of ICTs, or electronic media, to facilitate, or even to create, economic development in developing countries was buoyant. In a sense, ICTs were expected to create information flows which would no longer be limited by geographical boundaries. The basic assumption of my research was that the value of the democratic deficit of a nation- state would be more decisive for the actual role of ICT in rural development than the intrinsic interactivity of ICTs. In order to test the basic assumption, I conducted field research in Indonesia (1998), Peru (1999) and Vietnam (1998). The qualitative research data suggested that the level of interactive use of ICT in rural development efforts appears, to a large extent, to be determined by the state of democracy in a nation-state. Unsurprisingly, the research data indicated that the value of the democratic deficit increased from Peru, through Indonesia, to Vietnam. At the same time, the level of interactivity of ICTs in rural development decreased in the opposite direction.

Why there is a Democratic Deficit in the EU: a Response to Majone and Moravcsik
ANDREAS FOLLESDAL, University of Oslo, SIMON HIX, London School of Economics
Abstract: Giandomenico Majone and Andrew Moravcsik have argued that the EU does not suffer a democratic deficit.