How large, or small, should a national legislature be to allow members both to take soundings from the people who elected them and to develop effective policies? … In 1972, Rein Taagepera, a physicist-turned-social scientist at the University of California, Irvine, used mathematics in the effort to answer that question. He concluded that the cube root of a nation's population provides a good estimate of the most effective size for a country's lower house of elected parliament. … His approach has influenced how scholars think about the optimal size of parliaments ever since.

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