Slide#2 - Bhaflle“ The Logic of American Politics II PREVIEW The costs of collective action 0 Transaction costs 0 Conformity costs

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–8. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
Background image of page 7

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 8
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Bhaflle“ The Logic of American Politics II PREVIEW - The costs of collective action 0 Transaction costs 0 Conformity costs - Constitutional "tools" to achieve collective action 0 E.g., veto power, agenda control - Majority rule in the American Republic - The "work" of government 0 Private goods vs. public goods THE COSTS OF COLLECTIVE ACTION Recall that politics inherently involves bargaining and compromising. 0 Human beings have a variety of preferences 0 Differing opinions must be reconciled in order to achieve a group objective This process implies a system of costs and benefits. 0 Cost: any type of sacrifice or loss incurred as a result of achieving a group goal 0 Benefit: a reward or advantage that is gained through group/collective action Last week we discussed cost in terms of the problems associated with collective action. What types of costs are associated with the institutions used to guide collective action? THE COSTS OF COLLECTIVE ACTION There are two types of collective action costs. The first is known as a transaction cost: TRANSACTION COSTS o Costs—like time, effont, and resources—that are required to bring about a collective decision g to enforce some sont of collective behavior among the populace. EXAMPLES: 0 College Life: Living with a roommate versus apaltment-for- one (think in terms of decision making) 0 Political Rulership: (1) Direct Democracy versus Dictatorship; (2) American Republic versus Direct Democracy; (3) American Republic versus Monarchy THE COSTS OF COLLECTIVE ACTION The second type of collection action cost is known as a conformity cost. CON FORM ITY COSTS 0 Costs that are borne by the members of a group while seeking g being forced to achieve a collective goal. EXAMPLES: 0 College Life: group project versus individual assignment 0 Politics: Confederation versus United States of America TRANSACTION COSTS versus CONFORMITY COSTS Note that transaction costs pertain to those who set the rules for achieving a collective decision, whether it's a dictator or an entire population. Conformity costs, on the other hand, pertain to those who must adjust their lives to meet the requirements of a collective decision. As a result, there tends to be an inverse relationship between transaction costs and conformity costs. 0 That is, as transaction costs increase, conformity costs tend to decrease; and vice versa. 0 Think of a dictatorship vs. a direct democracy (from the perspective of both ruler and ruled). CONSTITUTIONAL TOOLS A number of "tools" exist within the framework of the national government that affect the balance between transaction and conformity costs: - Command authority - Veto power - Agenda control - Voting Rules - Delegation The way in which each tool is used determines whether transaction and conformity costs increase or decrease. COMMAND AUTHORITY The extent to which a person can dictate the actions of another is called command authority. As it increases: 0 Transaction costs go down; conformity costs go up. 0 Coordination problems are simplified or eliminated. Command authority varies across the three branches of the US. government. 0 Executive: great command authority during "exigencies." 0 Legislative: very little vis-a-vis the people; can be very great among different members within Congress. 0 Judiciary: the tradition of judicial review creates the appearance of command authority vis-a-vis the executive and legislative branches. VETO POWER The power to veto is the power to reject, or say "no" to, an action or proposal from another officer or institution. As its absoluteness increases: 0 Transaction costs go down; conformity costs go up. 0 In fact, during the Constitutional Convention several members of the committee suggested giving the president an absolute veto over Congress. Who has veto power in the US. government? 0 Executive: the only branch with a constitutionally designated veto power. 0 Legislative: de facto veto between houses; questionable veto vis- a-vis the executive (i.e., the so-called "legislative veto"). o Judiciary: quasi-veto power in the form of judicial review. AGENDA CONTROL Agenda control is also known as "setting the agenda." It refers to the power to determine the choices available to others. As it increases: 0 Transaction costs go down; conformity costs go up. Who sets the agenda in the national government? 0 Executive: partial agenda control via State of the Union Address 0 Legislative: great agenda control in the House of Representatives via the Speaker and party leaders; less in the Senate. 0 Judiciary: incidental agenda control via Court opinions; depending on the gravity of the issue, the other two branches may adjust their focus. VOTING RULES Voting rules are most evident in societies that allow the people to participate in their government, like the American Republic, because "voting" by definition implies freedom and opportunity. 0 Perhaps the most fundamental voting rule in America is the majority rule (or "one half plus one") principle. 0 This principle ensures that every palticipant's vote is equal. There are, however, alternative voting rules across the nafion. o Plurality rule: used in many states; the candidate with the most votes wins. E.g., Candidate A = 45%, Candidate B = 40%, and Candidate C = 15%. o Supermajority rule: implemented by the Founders; assigned to Congress; and required for amendments to the US. Constitution. DELEGATION The process of delegation occurs when one person or group of people allows others to make and implement decisions for them. EXAMPLES: 0 College Life: When you go to Barberitos for lunch, you delegate the task of making a burrito to the employee behind the counter. 0 Political Life: We delegate power and responsibilities to our representatives when we elect them to office. A principal delegates power to an agent. But this transfer of authority comes with costs. 0 There is always the risk that the agent, once granted power, will carry out his duties in a way that does not comport with the principal's wishes. 0 We refer to this as agency loss. 0 How can we protect against agency loss? REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT The foregoing list of "tools" adds definition to the system of government we have as Americans, which is a republic. 0 Our republic is not a direct democracy, which means we are compelled to enter into a principal-agent relationship by electing representatives to office. However, the Founders' distrust of direct democracy did not mean they placed more trust in the government either. 0 Separation of powers 0 More so than parliamentary forms of government, in which the legislative branch elects the chief executive. 0 Checks and balances THE WORK OF GOVERNMENT American citizens experience an increase in conformity costs with the advent of public goods. 0 Public goods are materials or resources that are available to all citizens—i.e., citizens cannot be excluded from enjoying them. 0 E.g., national defense, highways, community police. 0 Quasi-public good: health care? 0 Some public goods are not economically lucrative; therefore, the government provides them—e.g., space exploration. 0 In contradistinction to public goods are private goods, which are things freely chosen by citizens, like clothing, food, and homes. THE WORK OF GOVERNMENT The government is also tasked with preventing or controlling negative externalities, which are undesirable byproducts of human activity. 0 Carrots: offer incentives. Sticks: fines, imprisonment. 0 Old examples: air pollution, water pollution. 0 New examples: obesity, high cholesterol, greenhouse gases? To what extent should the government be allowed to protect citizens from negative externalities? Should there be a limit? If so, what is the threshold? ...
View Full Document

This note was uploaded on 09/18/2010 for the course POLS 1101 taught by Professor Cann during the Fall '08 term at University of Georgia Athens.

Page1 / 8

Slide#2 - Bhaflle“ The Logic of American Politics II PREVIEW The costs of collective action 0 Transaction costs 0 Conformity costs

This preview shows document pages 1 - 8. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online