Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Selectorate Theory: Implications of Political Legitimacy on Governance

Urbano de la Cruz points to a fascinating body of work by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. You can read more about it here. Browsing through an online copy of de Mesquita's book The Logic of Political Survival, I stumbled upon this neat diagram on page 130 that summarizes the core predictions of Selectorate Theory:

A detailed explanation of the various aspects of the diagram can be found in the book itself. What i would want to focus on is on what the above diagram has to say about the issue of Gloria Arroyo's lack of political legitimacy and the prospects of good governance given her lack of legitimacy. This involves understanding the concepts of a Leader's Discretionary Funds and the gap between the Selectorate and the Winning Coalition

Leader's Discretionary Funds: The book defines kleptocracy as something more than mere corruption. Rather, it is "outright theft of a nation's income by its leaders". It goes on to say that:
"The opportunity to engage in kleptocracy - while retaining one's position as an incumbent - is determined by the difference between the revenue available to a government and the expenditures made by the government. Whatever is left over from the two quantities is money available for the discretionary use of incumbent leaders."
Gap between Selectorate and the Winning Coalition: As per the Wikipedia entry on Selectorate Theory:
"The Selectorate is simply those within the state that have a say in policy outcome (in the United States, for example, it would be all citizens over the age of 18 eligible to vote). The Winning Coalition is a proportion of the Selectorate sufficient to choose and sustain a leader in office."
Under the Philippine Electoral System, the Selectorate consists of the pool of eligible voters while, in theory, the Winning Coalition is the proportion of voters who choose the President, which at least since 1992, has been a plurality.
(to be continued)

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