I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science from University of Pittsburgh, expected to defend in Spring 2018. I am a big fan of Elinor Ostrom, and, along with the Swedish economist Knut Wicksell, her work inspires my research.
My thesis studies the inclusion of interested parties in committees that are designed to advise a decision-making body. I address two questions: First, under what combination of features – institutional rules, committee composition, the preferences of the decision-making body and interest groups, and the nature of the policy issue – does stakeholder inclusion lead to informed consensus? Second, under what circumstances does an informational committee with stakeholder representation provide more information than would be obtained through external or expert consultations?
I address these questions using a formal model. I then test the model empirically using a data set of almost 3000 Swedish commissions of inquiry from 1990-2010, which I am collecting during my fieldwork stay in Sweden in 2017-2018. When completed, the data set will be made available to other researchers. The dissertation relates to two broader topics. The first is the long-standing debate about the merits of deliberative democracy and participatory politics. The second is the current crisis in democratic legitimacy which is occurring even in advanced democracies. I hope that, in some small way, my thesis can contribute to finding realistic institutional remedies for this crisis.