ARENA Tuesday Seminar: Hélène Landemore

Hélène Landemore presented the paper 'Democratic Deliberation and Legitimacy in Crowdsourced Legislative Processes: The Case of the Law on Off-Road Traffic in Finland' at the Tuesday Seminar on 18 November 2014.

Hélène Landemore


Hélène Landemore presented a paper co-authored with Tanja Aitamurto. She reported on a novel case study of a legislative process open to online participation of the public. This so called 'crowdsourcing' generated exchanges which qualify as democratic deliberation, the authors argue.

Landemore, in her presentation, presented the empirical context, the way the study was designed and its findings. The case study was a partially crowdsourced law reform in Finland in which citizens were invited to contribute ideas, information, and knowledge to the law process via an online platform. From this the authors formulate the following research questions: firstly, does crowdsourcing enable democratic deliberation; secondly, does it enable mass deliberation; and thirdly, is crowdsourcing legitimacy enhancing?

Landemore argued that the findings show an occurrence of democratic deliberation despite the lack of incentives for it. What was evident was not really mass deliberation, but the process definitely had the potential for it. Since the deliberation was distributed over time and occurred among viewpoints rather than individual opinions, the process can be seen as democratic and legitimacy enhancing, despite the issue of self-selection.

The presentation was followed by a discussion on issues such as the potential problem of selection biases in self-selection of participants, the difference between policy-making and legislating, and the scope conditions and usefulness of the crowdsourcing approach in policy-making.

By Helena Seibicke


Download the paper (restricted access)

Please note that this paper is work in progress and thus has limited distribution, please contact us if you would like access. Do not cite without permission from the author.

Published Aug. 20, 2014 9:48 AM - Last modified Apr. 24, 2017 3:04 PM