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Problems of Descriptive Representation in Dutch Works Councils

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In political theory, descriptive representation as a corrective to structural asymmetries within society is usually debated against the background of formal political institutions. It is discussed in this paper as a means to enhance the declining legitimacy of Dutch works councils as important sites of democratic decision-making in their own right. The aim is to show that the moral requirements of democratic inclusion have to be weighed against the functional requirements of effective representation, concluding that in some cases the costs in terms of effectiveness exceed the gains in terms of inclusiveness. Hence, the debate about descriptive representation is clearly in need of a more contextualized assessment of its pros and cons.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Amsterdam

Publication date: 2004-10-01

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