Class Notes Days 2-6

Class Notes Days 2-6 - DAY 2: Principles of Government What...

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DAY 2 : Principles of Government What is government? A central authority that makes and enforces the rules by which society conducts itself. Why is government necessary? To maintain order, protect individual liberty and property, produce public goods Types of Government (Inclusiveness) – governments can be categorized in ascending levels of inclusiveness o Autocracy – controlled by one person o Oligarchy – governments of the few o Democracy – governments run by the people Types of Government (Recognition of Limits) – governments can also be categorized in descending order of the limits they recognize in their own authority o Constitutional – recognize and often codify broad limits on authority o Authoritarian – recognize (often reluctantly) some limits on authority o Totalitarian – recognize little or no limits on authority Five Principles of Politics o The Rationality Principle: All political behavior has a purpose. Political behavior is goal-oriented. Political actors make instrumental choices about how to act. o The Institution Principle: Institutions are the rules and procedures that provide incentives for political behavior. They allocate jurisdiction, set the rules for making decisions, influencing who sets the agenda and who has delegating authority, and delegating authority to particular actors. o The Policy Principle: Political outcomes are the products of individual preferences and institutional procedures. Outcomes are the products of the intermingling of individual goals and institutions. Individuals have competing goals that are shaped, channeled, and filtered through relevant processes. o The History Principle: How we got here matters. Historical processes shape institutions, and historical outcomes are the products of path dependency. History provides a normative context by which we can understand and interpret political events and outcomes. o The Collective-Action Principle: All politics is collective action. Government requires collective social action. Collective action is difficult because individuals have different interests and goals. Bargaining relationships-both informal and formal-help overcome impediments to collective action. Organizing Individuals for Common Benefit – Why is this necessary? If everyone will benefit, why don’t they voluntarily organize? Mending the Fence: Two farmers have a shared fence line and it is $1000 to repair. Each farmer values it at $700. What should they do? Without
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collective action, it is a better economic decision for each to not mend the fence. The Tragedy of the Commons : On joint pastureland, does a person add another head of cattle or not? Each will add without stopping because it is a good economic decision. This leads to overgrazing. Rational, self-interested individuals produce collectively undesirable
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Class Notes Days 2-6 - DAY 2: Principles of Government What...

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