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Publication Information

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Title: Participatory democracy, representative democracy, and the nature of diffuse and concentrated interests: A case study of public involvement on a national gorest district

Author: Overdevest, Christine;

Date: 2000

Source: Society & Natural Resources, 13: 685-696

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: To evaluate whether public involvement on a national forest district fairly represents the public's values, this article proposes four hypothesis tests. First, it is hypothesized that public-involvement programs operute according to a participatory democracy logic, in which broad cross sections of the public participate in public involvement opportunities. A second hypothesis is tested that public involvement rejects a representative democracy process in which interest groups participate yet represent the underlying distribution of issue interests of the public at large. Recuuse the findings indicate that interest groups do outcompete the public in participation, two additional perspectives are entertained. A political economic perspective is considered that posits that the incentive structure characterizing different interests defines participation. This perspective is contrasted with a perspective that argues that environmental "elites" prevail in participation and in the process misrepresent the public's values. Tests are made to adjudicate between alternative hypotheses. The findings and their implications for democratic public involvement and decision making are considered.

Keywords: diffuse and concentrated interests, enviromental attitudes and elitism, participatory and representative democracy

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Overdevest, Christine 2000. Participatory democracy, representative democracy, and the nature of diffuse and concentrated interests: A case study of public involvement on a national gorest district. Society & Natural Resources, 13: 685-696

 


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