The Price of Democracy: How Money Shapes Politics and What to Do about It

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Harvard University Press
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6.5 X 9.3 X 1.5 inches | 1.65 pounds

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About the Author

Julia Cagé is Assistant Professor of Economics at Sciences Po in Paris. A specialist in media economics, political economy, and economic history, she is the author of Saving the Media: Capitalism, Crowdfunding, and Democracy.
Andrea Reiter is a Research Fellow at the School of Modern Languages, Univeristy of Southampton, UK.


Julia Cagé has taken the critical step of identifying and documenting plutocratic campaign funding as a devastating threat to democracy internationally. She is unafraid to point out that liberal and progressive parties in many countries are co-opted by the lack of contribution and expenditure limits. This usually leads all the leading parties in a given country to effectively ignore glaring income inequalities. As she forcefully argues, encouraging democracy vouchers or other forms of public financing of campaigns is ultimately the best and perhaps only way to address this threat. This is a valuable book for reformers anywhere.--Senator Russ Feingold
The Price of Democracy is an overdue look at the global challenge that big money poses in democratic governments. It advances a sobering and grounded assessment of the alarming role of money in the world's democracies and the often checkered history of reform. Through it all, however, the book sounds notes of level-headed optimism, rooted in the author's careful look at some of the boldest political reform proposals I've seen in print: from democracy vouchers to regulations on political parties to reserved seats for underrepresented social classes in political institutions. This book is truly at the leading edge of good government reform and is a must-read for people who care about the future of democracy around the world.--Nicholas Carnes, author of The Cash Ceiling
What ails democracy across the world? Julia Cagé's magisterial analysis uncovers the root cause in the intertwining of money and politics in an age of massive inequality, showing how the wealthy purchase influence and undermine the core democratic principle of 'one person, one vote.' With a slate of creative and bold proposals for reform, The Price of Democracy blazes a path forward. Here is a playbook for progressive politicians and citizens.--Rob Reich, author of Just Giving
It's been clear for years that the US campaign finance system is broken. Big ideas and action are needed. The Price of Democracy brings a sweeping global perspective to one of the most intractable problems of our times. Cagé shows what has and hasn't worked around the world--but goes beyond that to propose a set of new and innovative approaches.--Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences