POLS 3670 Lecture Notes - Policy, Social Capital, Garage Sale

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Published on 17 Apr 2013
University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 3670
Lecture 3- Tuesday January 15, 2013
Public Choice
- Behaviouralism in the 1950's and 1960's is the use of the natural science method in the social sciences,
influenced by the idea you can study humans in the same way you can study chemistry, that you can
predict behaviours that you can predict a phenomena. Usually less associated with people on the right end
of the political spectrum. Fundamental assumption is that human behaviours can be explained by looking
at the individual. Public policy reflects what individuals do. Uses rational choice framework.
- At the core of economics, rational choice framework explains all social behaviours as a collection of
individual choices. For public choice theorists, you can explain policy using this framework. None state
actors are going to vote for parties that will give them the best outcome, and none state actors will side
with actors that give them the most and state actors respond by promising them everything and delivering
the most they can in order to stay in power.
- Rent Seeking- trying to get as much from the state and doing the least amount possible of work
- 1. Why do welfare system differ from country to country
- Certain policies are influenced by religion and this makes no sense. It is not what people want and the way
people look at ideas influence the policies made
- Also fairs to account for changes to policy over time. Looking at the last 40-50 years, there are changes in
a reduction and increase in spending over time. But what explains those changes,
- Public Choice
Agency vs. Structure. After 1960's, left wing approaches to public policy had an impact and for people on the left
you have to look at structures to explain phenomenon, you have to take a broader perspective.
Pluralism- the most important approach to public policy.
- Became dominant approach to policy in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Has continued to have an influence on the way
we study policy. Robert Dahl influenced pluralism, we have individuals and structure but policy is a result of
how people in society organize themselves into groups and social policy. Difficult for us as individuals to
influence policy.
- Society has groups competing with one another to push for policy. The state is seen, as repository of all these
various groups that compete for interest and the state has to react to these demands. Individual’s corrals around
individuals articulate their demands and then argue for policy. Material interest drives people, but many other
interests are incentives for people to push for policy other then material
- The number of lobby groups- 50,000 in Washington. Resources are the key to many pluralists.
- Some of the more refined takes on pluralism have looked at society. Pluralism has been refined in many ways
and it has nonetheless remained fundamental to how we look at policy.
- Shortcomings: policy entrepreneurs have an idea, and this might actually become implemented as a policy.
- Paints a stark picture between the state and society, it can be blurry
- Some policy networks we need to look at what’s happening outside them
- Despite the shortcomings, pluralism is important as it moved away from the study of the state (Marxist, and
public choice) and looked at how individuals, non-state actors, can influence policy.
- Pluralism Shortcoming, good for looking at how the lobbyist groups influence policy, however, is limited at
looking at policy in countries that don’t operate this way.
- The idea that society best to preform particular functions. Is the idea that we organize society into corporate and
particular groups and this is how society will best function. Based on the notion that you organize society into
corporate groups. Operates in Europe
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- Useful in understanding how policy is made in countries with formal mechanisms. Corporatism tackles the
shortcomings of pluralism: The state actually, purposely organizes society and accounts for patterns of
behaviours and allows you to study how this interaction takes place.
- Shortcomings of pluralism- not all countries operate this way, so allows you to look at some countries but not
others, it also becomes policy dependent. (Certain things, minimum wage, it helps you look at how policy is
made but there’s more to policy) there is a tendency to focus on economic groups.
- Refers to the role of institutions and the impact they have on the policy process. Called institutionalism because
there was a rebirth and focus on institutionalisms in the 1990s. Since this time, we have seen the multiplication
of a variety of approaches to institutionalism (social institutionalism, historical etc.) at the core is the idea that in
democratic societies, institution shaped behaviours and institutions shape the choices made by groups and they
shape human behaviours
- We see, especially in the global south, we go beyond formal; we look at informal institutions as well.
Parliaments, executives, cabinets (how they make policy and function etc.), also refer to norms and behaviours.
- Important to question if the social forces outside institutions have an effect or not on institutions
Lecture 3, Thursday, January 16, 2013
The Study of Public Policy in the Global South
- And developing societies has been for a long time been looked at from a development perspective, looking at
poverty reduction. Why have some been able to reduce poverty when they are developed or not? Focus on
economic development, social programs etc.
- Over the last 20 years, many countries becoming democratic, there has been increasing focus, maybe on the
environment etc. The relationship between the environment and economic development…
- There are certain things that are common across the global south, key to the course, based on research on Latin
America but is applicable to other countries because some features are also there.
The State
- The State is interpolitical communities which people are able to organize power, monopolize the use of force in a
legitimate way in a ___ territory. Is the only possible way today to organize societies? Territories, which have a
population and this way, organize society in a legitimate way.
- Basic definition of the State: States have a territory, a population, sovereignty, and have legitimacy
- States have 3 main capacities: extractive- taxes, even if you don’t want to pay them you have to. This is the
ability to extract resources from society to allow society to function if necessary through the courts (forcing
them, income tax….). The ability to penetrate society, the penetrative capacity, the ability of the state to have
access to all physical and social spaces. E.g. domestic violence, the state has the right to go into your home to
stop that, even in your household. This is a rule of law, when the state passes law and makes policy, it should be
able to implement it.
- The extent to which states are able to preform these functions without outside intervention is called state
autonomy. State autonomy refers to the ability of states to make policy and implement it independently from
international or __ opposition. Taxation- forcing people to pay up. It is not concrete, it is fluid and it changes.
(Strong state autonomy-US. But they have had weak autonomy at time) For the most part it’s considered to be
weaker in the global south.
- State Autonomy- The ability of states in the global south to make decisions and implement policies is lower.
They are permeated from interests from the outside to stop some of these decisions
- There is pressure on these countries to compete for investment for lower taxation. The ability of policy makers
on the global south is limited because they have pressure from outside, international actors will put pressure. The
international dimension is important. 2. Equality, usually smaller middle classes and smaller ones influence
policy more directly and have more contact with policy makers because of state autonomy being weak. 3. Weak
state autonomy means those who are marginalized (global south avg 45% population) have limited ability to
influence the policy making process.
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- State capacity- state ability to preform basic functions, in the global south these are weaker. Harder to extract
resources from certain areas e.g. rural areas where the state has no control. Afghanistan, trying to build a state, in
some areas they are controlled by warlords, therefore the state has no ability to retract resources to function, and
extractive capacity is weaker.
- Penetrative Capacity- the ability to have access to these areas, domestic violence, most countries have laws
against dv, but you need state capacity to control this and have access.
- States are weak in their autonomy and capacities
- Decisions aren’t made or enacted
- Institutions matter, important to understanding policy in north and south.
- Argue: need to look at larger processes of how institutions are established and emerged. Historical
institutionalism is helpful in looking at this.
- Tend to reflect power relations in society, looking at context is important. Institutions also tend to be weaker and
this is because of the historical processes, institutions in the south are weaker- limited resources that have to do
with the extractive capacity. Wages are lower and this causes many problems etc. If you can’t pay your staff
properly then the ability to carry out what it needs is difficult. Bribing officials. Etc.
- Power is centralized usually in the executive branch of government, parliaments aren’t as strong as they could be
and decisions are made weakly
- Informal institutions- socially shared rules, usually written, not always, but created, communicated and informed
outside the officially sanctioned channels. Refers to rules that are somehow enforced collectively and not always
written. E.g. Patriarchy- men having different capacities then women and have more power, this is why
according to statistics men make 30% more money then women. This translates how we behave which translates
into politics. Percentage of Canadian female Parlitarians- 18.5%
- Patron-Clientelism: relationship between two individuals of unequal power, the patron and the client, its
characterized by an exchange, involves protection or access to certain goods in return for loyalty. Land Owners-
patrons, clients- workers. Loyalty is at the core. This has historical roots and comes from anthropology; people
behave in a certain way. Pervasive in the global south, its an informal institution and has an impact on policy.
E.g. delivery of resources to combat poverty. Governments give out money to the female HOH, 100$ month
from government if you are going to take your kid to school and medical check ups, this distribution of goods
expects loyalty
o How does patron-clientelism play out in the political world? It is depending on one person for goods, it
plays out
Lecture 4- Thursday January 23, 2013
Lecture 4 Part one, Tuesday January 21, 2013, cancelled.
Institutions and Bureaucracies in Policy Making
- The reading on Pakistan shows how the patron-clientelism and informal institutions works
- When we talk about institutions, informality is important on the global south, it has many effects on policy and
- Contemporary example: global south- bright industrialist people that go and study abroad, England, Harvard,
Yale… politics advisor and minister of finance, but especially for Latin America, when a person comes back,
they will come back and recruit the people they have met in grad school. And the important part here is the
important of loyalty.
- Characteristics of the global south- measurement of equality, the higher the efficient the higher equality you have
Canada: 32, US: 40, Global south: 45. Compare the global south and global north, the equality of the global
south is a lot wider, we have to take into account equality when studying policy in the global south because if
there’s inequality it can affect the access people have to things, patron-client relationships being exploited, less
resources, pluralist perspective, those with more resources can impact policy greater then others without and this
is corrosive to the levels of equality.
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