Schumpeter’s Leadership Model of Democracy

  • Paul Brooker


The theory of democracy that Schumpeter presented more than 60 years ago in Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy is much better known for its quasi-economic features than for its emphasis on leadership. Even his definition of democracy seemed to have an economic flavour and has been viewed as an implicit analogy of free-market economic competition for consumers’ spending.1 For he defined democracy as ‘that institutional method for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the people’s vote’ — through being successful in ‘free competition for a free vote’.2 It is not surprising that his theory stimulated Downs’s 1950s classic, An Economic Theory of Democracy, which in turn became one of the most influential examples of the rational choice approach to political science.3


Prime Minister Democratic Government Formal Leadership Parliamentary Democracy Free Competition 
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Copyright information

© Paul Brooker 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Brooker
    • 1
  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonNew Zealand

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