The Center for the Study of Democracy at UC Irvine publishes working papers on topics of empirical democratic studies. Like the Center itself, the topics may range from the problems of democratic transitions to the expansion of the democratic process in advanced industrial democracies. The series is multidisciplinary in its research approach, as well as diverse in its definition of democratization topics.
I develop the theory of power laws and allude to their prevalence elsewhere in the scientific world. I use actual data on US special interest groups to identify a broad, empirical regularity in the distribution of their lobbying expenditures, which naturally gives rise to a spatial model of the lobbying process. I discuss the policy implications of these findings and stress the superiority of this approach in describing aggregate special interest behavior relative to the stylized, strategic workhorse models in this field. Supplemental mathematical background is provided in two appendices.
Using a new dataset of Italian publicly traded companies between 1994 and 2008, this paper aims to quantify the value of different types of political connections. Conducting an event study on stock returns, we examine how the stocks of connected companies perform before and after the politicians to whom they are connected are either elected to Parliament, or appointed as government ministers. First, we check whether political connections in general lead to abnormally positive returns. Then, we ask whether political connections have a different effect on stock returns, depending on whether companies have politicians themselves (direct connection) or some of their relatives (indirect connection) among their administrators. Finally, we test the hypothesis that connections are effective only when the politicians are members of the governing coalition. Contrary to most studies, political connections are not always associated with positive stock returns. Taking stock performance as a proxy for the benefits of connections, we conclude that only certain political connections are in fact valuable to companies. Being connected with the (future) governing coalition has the predicted positive effect, whereas gaining or maintaining a connection with the opposition coalition has no effect, or even a negative effect. Also, only indirect connections are found to increase the company’s value, while direct connections are not. However, given the size and composition of our sample, we cannot confidently conclude that indirect connections do differ from direct ones.
In East Asia, as in other regions of the world, democratic politics and free market economy have emerged as the twin goals of national development. This paper examines public's reactions to the dual or parallel transformation of authoritarian politics and crony capitalism into market democracy by considering jointly citizens’ basic orientations toward democracy and capitalism. Which subgroups are most and least supportive of the parallel development of democracy and capitalism? What factors motivate people to embrace capitalist democracy most and least powerfully? How does their embrace of capitalist democracy compare with their peers’ in advanced capitalist democracies in the North American region of the Pacific Rim? The paper addresses these questions with further analyses of the World Value Surveys conducted in seven East Asian countries—China, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam—and two North American countries—the United States and Canada.
Culture, Calculation, and Being a Pretty Good Citizen: Alternative Interpretations of Civil Engagement
This is the 2000-01 Eckstein Lecture at the Center for the Study of Democracy, UC Irvine. This paper consides the applicability of rational actor theory as well as cultural explanations to citizen engagement with politics. Citizen participation in politics is a crucial component of democracy, and studies of citizen participation have been a mainstay of political science analyses of democratic politics. Rational actor theory is one of the dominant modes of analysis in contemporary political science. But citizen participation and rational actor theory have had an uneasy relationship with one another. The paper considers these alternate models of civic engagement as applied to research on political participation in America.
Politics takes place in time and space–both the immutable physical space and the institutional space that politics can alter, but with much inertia. To express the effects of such limiting frames, I have developed a number of logical quantitative models. By "logical quantitative" I mean models that can be constructed without data input, on logical grounds, and then can be quantitatively tested. Here I try to make my approaches and results more understandable so as to enable others to apply this particular set of methods to further problems in political science and related fields. My topics can be divided into the following four categories:
a) The size of countries, assemblies and electoral districts matters for their functioning. Exactly how does country size affect the size of its legislative assembly, its foreign trade/GNP ratio, and the sizes of cities?
b) Sizes of populations, countries and defense budgets change over time–growing, declining, interacting. How do more universal patterns of growth and duration enter those empires and cabinet coalitions? How do social phenomena such as population explosion and hyperinflation proceed?
c) The number and size distribution of political parties is affected by institutional frameworks. According to which logical models?
d) Finally, conversion from people to representatives takes place in several forms. Popular votes translate into assembly seats for different parties. Populations of countries affect their seat shares in supranational assemblies. The conversion is usually less than proportional, under-representing the smaller parties, yet over-representating the smaller nations. What are the hidden rules of conversion?