Ravi Pandya
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Ravi Pandya   software | nanotechnology | economics


2007 11 10

2004 10 09 08 07 06

2003 04 02 01

2002 12 11 10 09 08

2001 11


Ravi Pandya
Cloud Computing Futures
ravip at microsoft.com

00-02 Covalent
97-00 EverythingOffice
96-97 Jango
93-96 NetManage
89-93 Xanadu
88-89 Hypercube
84,85 Xerox PARC
83-89 University of Toronto, Math
86-87 George Brown College, Dance
95-Foresight Institute
97-Institute for Molecular Manufacturing


The opinions expressed here are purely my own, and do not reflect the policy of my employer.

Sun 28 Oct 2007

The Logic of Political Survival

My friend Robert Bell pointed me at this, which has been mentioned by Angry Bear and Samizdata. It is an interesting combination of public choice theory and organizational theory. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has developed a model of political economy he calls selectorate theory, modeling the behavior of rules based on the size of the selectorate that has a say in choosing the ruler, and the minimal size of the winning coalition that is sufficient to determine a particular outcome. In autocratic regimes, the coalition is small so the ruler can get away with ruling for the gain of a few; in democracies the winning coalition is large, and so there is an incentive to increase overall public welfare. His book, The Logic of Political Survival is (almost completely) available on Google Books. There's also a podcast interview which sounds interesting.

One interesting question is how the selectorate/winning coalition ratio evolves over time. In particular, the current U.S. administration's pursuit of the Iraq war despite strong popular opinion against it, and the concentrated private benefits such as war contracts and oil profits, run counter to de Mesquita's theory of democratic behavior (Testing Novel Implications from the Selectorate Theory of War). It is possible that in practice the effective winning coalition in the U.S. has become smaller due to effects like single-issue voting (whether it's pro-environment or anti-abortion), and gerrymandering.

19:19 #

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