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Decide What's Best for your Constituency

If you're an elected official or policymaker, how do you decide what's best for your constituency? The following are questions to help you determine that.

1.
How will you measure "what's best"? Is it what citizens tell you? Is it what citizens will feel once they're familiar with the new policy? Is it your personal convictions? Is it how you believe the policy consequences will be appreciated? Is it what experts tell you? A blend of these?
2.
When there's different preferences among your constituency, how will you distibute the satisfaction? You can only have one policy, and you can't make everyone maximally happy. So how much of one cohort's preferences should you sacrifice to satisfy others?
3.
Should the preferences of some members of your constituency count more than other members? Do you only consider the voices of those who voted for you? Only those who demonstrate they have a deep understanding of the issues? Should you prioritize those most affected by your decision? Should you weight expert opinions more than non-experts? Should you give higher weight to those who can provide you some personal benefit, like campaign contributions?
4.
How much should you follow your own beliefs and convictions, regardless of what your consituency seems to want?
5.
How much of your constituency's future preferences should you consider? If a policy is unpopular now, but you think they'll prefer it once they get used to it, should you go ahead?
6.
How much can you trust what citizens say they want? Research shows that — people are bad at predicting what will make them happy; that their judgements are usually irrational, ill-informed, superficial, emotional, ideological, non-empirical, and based on irrelevances; and that people are bad at predicting the consequences of complex systems, like actual policy outcomes.
7.
How much can you trust your sources for what citizens want? Are you getting poll info from a biased source? Is the survey data statistically significant and distributed enough to be representative of your entire constituency?
8.
How much should it affect your decision to consider the personal ramifications? If one policy will reflect well on you or help your re-election, but you think it's a bad policy for your consitituency, what do you do? If some big donors to your campaign want a particular policy, are you swayed?