Research suggests that once an organisation grows beyond 150 people, the scale is too large for traditional mechanisms of trust and reciprocity to function. Anonymity and free-riding become problems and the incentives to work together begin to disappear. It’s no wonder there’s so little accountability in many of these legislative bodies, which is compounded by the influence of money, crony capitalism, too many people represented per candidate, and (in the case of the U.S.) an electoral process that ensures radicalised candidates. Without any of the reputational incentives of a smaller organisation or the accountability that comes with a small constituency, the influence of large corporate, labour, and wealthy donors will continue to be the prime motivating factor in U.S. congressional legislation.
This chart, in The Economist about how the UK has fewer constituents per representative than any other developed country, got me thinking about governance and how organisational size impacts productivity: