Based on in-depth studies of the relationship between expertise and democracy in Europe, this book presents a new approach to how the un-elected can be made safe for democracy. It addresses the challenge of reconciling modern governments’ need for knowledge with the demand for democratic legitimacy.

Knowledge-based decision-making is indispensable to modern democracies. This book establishes a public reason model of legitimacy and clarifies the conditions under which unelected bodies can be deemed legitimate as they are called upon to handle pandemics, financial crises, climate change and migration flows. Expert bodies are seeking neither re-election nor popularity, they can speak truth to power as well as to the citizenry at large. They are unelected, yet they wield power. How could they possibly be legitimate?

This book is of key interest to scholars and students of democracy, governance, and more broadly to political and administrative science as well as the Science Technology Studies (STS).

chapter 1|13 pages


Making the unelected safe for democracy
ByErik O. Eriksen

chapter 2|20 pages

Strategies for repairing legitimacy deficits

ByErik O. Eriksen

chapter 3|22 pages

Reasoned administration

The European Union, the United States, and the project of democratic governance 1
ByJerry L. Mashaw

chapter 4|25 pages

Power, money, knowledge and the European Central Bank


chapter 5|18 pages

Reputational threats and democratic responsiveness of regulatory agencies

ByTobias Bach, Marlene Jugl, Dustin Köhler, Kai Wegrich

chapter 6|20 pages

Accountability and inter-institutional respect

The case of independent regulatory agencies
ByAndreas Eriksen

chapter 7|18 pages

Accountability beyond control

How can parliamentary hearings connect the elected and the unelected?
ByAndreas Eriksen, Alexander Katsaitis

chapter 8|18 pages

Expertise and the general will in democratic republicanism

ByKjartan Koch Mikalsen

chapter 9|18 pages

Values in expert reasoning

A pragmatic approach
ByTorbjørn Gundersen

chapter 10|23 pages


From technocrats to representatives
ByErik O. Eriksen