The importance of the size of a political community for the development of civic virtue has usually been related to the advantages of small size in the possibility of direct democracy and the fulfilment of the classical ideal of freedom as governing and being governed by turn. While these are important variables for the development of civic virtue, in this article it is argued that small size also matters because it allows the development of civic virtue by a reputation-building mechanism. The correlate of this argument is that as the political community grows in size, this mechanism turns increasingly unfeasible. However, the article also claims that certain institutional devices for the spread of information about people's preferences can help the development of civic virtue even in big republics. This argument is illustrated with the example of the Roman censorship, an institution that flourished during the Roman Republican period
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DOI 10.1177/1474885107080651
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