[EM] Apportionment and minimum desirable legislature size?
km_elmet at lavabit.com
Tue Apr 19 00:23:11 PDT 2011
Alex Small wrote:
> I've been following some of the apportionment threads, and wanted to
> pose a related question: Is there an optimal legislature size from the
> standpoint of apportionment?
If you look at this from an optimization perspective, you have one
objective that pulls in the direction of having as large a size as
possible - and this objective is having as great representation as
possible. In order for the answer to be anything less than "as large as
possible", there must be some sort of counteracting force that increases
as you get smaller.
The question, then, is "what is this force?"; and for that, I don't
know. I have given some ideas earlier (such as the increasing
difficulty, from a single representative's POV, in knowing about all the
other representatives, as size increases), but even if these were the
counteracting forces, it is not clear how strong they should be. There's
a commensurability problem: how much does one additional representative
count with respect to increased proportionality, and in contrast, how
much "penalty" does one additional representative carry from the point
of view of making the legislature unwieldy?
The questions don't seem to have clear answers, and therefore each
nation has more or less chosen the distribution according to what "seems
right", or by accumulation of historical inertia.
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