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Two Frameworks One normative One theoretical/analytical The Democracy Question –Elite theory –Pluralism Political economy approach (a.k.a rational choice,

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Presentation on theme: "Two Frameworks One normative One theoretical/analytical The Democracy Question –Elite theory –Pluralism Political economy approach (a.k.a rational choice,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Two Frameworks One normative One theoretical/analytical The Democracy Question –Elite theory –Pluralism Political economy approach (a.k.a rational choice, public choice)

2 What is a political economy approach? a. This approach asks how individual values and preferences get translated into collective processes and outcomes. This approach is directly related to debates about the meaning and operation of democratic systems; it is centrally concerned with how collective enterprises, from neighborhoods to nations, operate.

3 b. Traditionally, economics studied behavior in the marketplace and assumed that individuals pursued their private interests; political science studied behavior in the public arena and assumed that individuals pursued their own notion of the public interest. Thus, separate versions of human motivation developed in economics and political science; the idea of homo economicus assumed a self-interested actor seeking to maximize personal benefits; that of homo politicus assumed a public-spirited actor seeking to maximize societal welfare.

4 c. The political economy approach adopts the homo economicus model of human behavior and applies it to the public arena. Political Economy Approach assumptions: 1.Human behavior is purposive (Utility Maximizing) 2.People’s behavior is shaped by incentives and constraints (rational) 3.People are intelligent and creative (strategic)

5 Purposive 1)Purposive: people do things to advance their own goals and objectives. People have preferences over policy outcomes. What might this mean for politics and Policy? Different preferences = conflict Conflicting preferences = multiple policy alternatives Which policy and which policy outcome is chosen? Persuasion, Bargaining, Coercion

6 Incentives Matter 2) Shaped by Incentives: People respond to their environment. They respond to incentives and disincentives. Examples?

7 People are Intelligent & Creative 3) They are strategic in that they are aware of rules and constraints and will respond in the appropriate manner, in a creative manner.

8 The Irrationality of Rationality Individual Preferences Versus Collective Outcomes: Bickers and Williams attempt to show how there is often a tension between individual preferences and collective outcomes and how these tensions are inherent in a democracy. The starting point of the political economy approach to policy analysis is the distinction between individual preferences and collective outcomes.

9 The Cleveland Browns and Rational Choice What do the Cleveland Browns have to do with the Political Economy approach to policy studies?

10 So how do we solve this problem? How do we solve this dilemma, this tension between individual preferences and aggregate outcomes?

11 Institutions We can develop institutions to help translate preferences into collective outcomes that are beneficial to large groups of people. But not all institutions are alike, different institutions function differently.

12 The political economy approach is interested in how institutions translate our individual preferences into policy outcomes. Institutions may be inefficient (cost to much to respond to our demands) They may cause hidden effects and costs (negative externatilities) Can misrepresent preferences (elections 2002, 1980, small shift led to large change in Senate). [Limits of geographic representation]

13 The PE approach is interested in how institutions may be created to produce incentives for public officials not to respond to our preferences: –Campaign contributions –Bureaucracies –Separation of powers

14 So institutions can help or hinder us getting what we want and they can sometimes create negative consequences when producing the things we want. We would like to structure institutions so that they will give us what we want more times than not and produce fewer negative side effects.

15 How do Political Economists Think 1. Take trade-offs seriously – most people feel that if something is good overall, admitting any downside is strategically a bad idea. 2. Think of statistical people – move away from anecdotal stories about individual 3. Selfishness is a major principle of social organization and it often an effective principle

16 4. Interested in interactions between individuals and group – not interested in conspiracy theories (doesn’t mean that some people have much more power and influence) 5. incentives matter 6. non-decisions are also important and yield costs (forgone benefits) (opportunity costs) 7. Markets are powerful forces of nature, but they are not perfect. Market failures.

17 DEMOCRATIC GOVERNANCE &PUBLIC POLICY The Role of Government GOOD Instruments of Collective Action What does this mean: mobilize individuals and resources (labor, energy, money) To do what? BAD Infringe on individual liberties and freedom; attach other nations TRADE OFFS: GOOD&BAD Crime Policy: infringe on individual liberties in order to protect the public good. i.e. drug policy (leads to property crime/violence)

18 Question: How do we determine whether our government is doing what we want it to do? What is the standard to measure government performance? How do we evaluate our government? Do we focus on the process or the outcome?

19 DEMOCRATIC THEORY: HOBBES, LOCKE, ROUSSEAU, AND RAWLS The relationship between man and State - Social Contract Tradition (17th century): countered the common notion of a “highly constrained, hierarchical systems of social relations into which all humans were born and stayed throughout their entire lives.” Where the authority to rule, it was claimed, came from God. Social contract tradition: government should be founded upon the choices and consent of the people.

20 Thomas Hobbes?

21 Thomas Hobbes ( ): humans are greedy-need the state to protect us. We are willing to give up freedoms in order for protection, order, safety. We can see this after 9-11 and our willingness to give up certain rights.

22 John Locke?

23 John Locke ( ): Natural laws = rights from God. “Life, liberty, property” - T. Jefferson plagiarizes Locke in the Declaration of Independence. Most people respect these natural laws - of course there are a few bad apples. Yes we do need a govt. but only a limited one. The only legitimate govt. action is the action the public consents to.

24 Rousseau

25 Jean-Jacques Rousseau ( ) –public holds preferences for government action that are reprehensible. “the general will is always right, but the judgment that guides it is not always enlightened.” What does right mean? Rousseau suggests that we set up institutions that people ought to have and then teach them what they ought to want. (is this elite theory?). Democratic theory presumes that preferences should determine public policies, assuming that public opinion/preferences are generally socially acceptable.

26 What happens in a democracy when people act in socially unacceptable or selfish ways? Suppression of minorities? Inefficient policies? Solutions?

27 Rawls: Veil of Ignorance

28 Rawls veil of ignorance: don’t know anything about our characteristics, man woman, child college student, etc. and then assess the fairness of a policy. Can we really be that objective? Alternative: Acknowledging externalities - The positive externalities of public education. Even if you and your family go to private school (or don’t have kids or are self taught) you will likely benefit from public education via an educated work force which leads to a higher GDP, which leads to a higher quality of life for most, or through lower crime rates, or because you do not have to train (as much) your new employees.

29 TOPDOWN POLICYMAKING I. Framework of the class: Democracy? We are going to be covering a lot of information in this class; We are going to talk about the constitution, voting, media, congress, courts, you name it. And how all these interact to form policy outcomes. In order to help us get through this material it would help if we had a sort of framework. The two textbooks (Bickers/Williams & Dye) that we’ve started to read have both started their stories of public policy by mentioning the term democracy. Perhaps this is a good framework frame the lectures around.

30 Evaluating Democracy More Broadly - we will reflect on the ways in which the American way of doing things achieves desired goals and serves us well or poorly. We will also ask, does this policy benefit some and not others?, does this institution favor some groups over other, do some groups have more access to this bureaucracy or politician?

31 Why is Democracy Important? But before we define democracy - why would we as a class be interested in democracy or use this ideal in structuring our class. 1.it's part of our history and our culture, De Tocqueville was amazed as to our egalitarian and democratic way of life in the 1830s 2.it is believed to be the best form of government to protect individual rights 3.that the pooled knowledge and experience of all citizens is more capable of ruling than a few oligarchic leaders.

32 Dictionary Definition Greek roots demos (the people) ocracy – kratein (to rule) the rule of the people

33 What are the characteristics that make up a democratic state? Not an easy questions. To make it easier - think of a list of five countries: Iran, U.S., Sweden, Mexico, and Russia. Which ones are democracies, or in more objective terms - which one is the most democratic and which one is the least. Why? What characteristics make one country more democratic than another.

34 Possible measures of Democracy: Competitive elections Media free from government pressure Voting Other Types of Political Participation Number of interest groups/political parties Others?

35 Fundamental Principles of Representative Democracy 1.Popular sovereignty 2.Political Equality 3.Political Liberty

36 Popular Sovereignty a. govt. policies reflect people's preferences b. Majority rules. Narrow interest should not dominate in the political process.

37 Political Equality Each person caries the same weight in voting and other political decision making. What about equal access to political office? What about economic equality?

38 Political Liberty Is the idea that the government will not interfere with an individuals exercise of a range of different rights. The question is what rights are protected? Political v. Private Liberty?

39 political liberty is the tricky one. Because it may conflict with the other principles of democracy such as majority rules. If a majority of us say that the richest 5% of the nation has to give up half of their money to us, the poor part of the population. Limits on Campaign contributions, may hinder a persons liberty while enhancing political equality, which stresses that each persons carries the same weight in the political process.

40 Conflicting Values Liberty mean that a disliked minority has a voice. KKK has a right to hold a rally, or that we give the right of marriage to homosexuals The bottom 50% of society (income wise) hold less than 15% of the the wealth – where as the richest 1% hold about 15% of the wealth in this country. Majority Rule means that the bottom 50% can vote to tax the hell out of the richest.


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