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Persuade, Position, or Pander?
--Competence Claiming and the Political Economy of Democratic Governance in Developed Open-Economies--
樋渡展洋(社会科学研究所)

日時:3月9日(火)10時半~12時10分
※関係者限定での開催となります
場所:N/A
コメンテーター:Steven Vogel (カリフォルニア大学政治学部) , 前田健太郎(東京大学法学政治学研究科)

報告要旨

 If the goal of mainstream party leaders is power (in competitive democracies as elsewhere), how do their campaigns to win elections and legislative strategies to draw public support shape the way they accomplish democratic representation and accountability; and what are the consequences of such practices for governing a developed open economy? This study contends that competence claiming is the key to understand how leaders represent the voter concerns of, and are held accountable for solving, impending economic problems of economic growth and personal wellbeing. Competence claiming uniquely maintains that parties change their positions when representing the shifting voters’ concerns of cyclical and evolutional changes of the economy and that they strive to produce legislative results to account for voters’ demand for economic growth and personal wellbeing (under the constraints of fiscal responsibility imposed by capital mobility).

 Although leader survival is a basic assumption in the studies of developing countries and economic assessment by the voter is the main focus of economic voting theories, no study has combined the two views to examine how democratic competition among leaders in and out of power are shaped by voters’anxieties about the economy during campaigns and voters' assessment of government performance in-between elections. The strength of competence claiming theorizing is apparent when compared to the canonic paradigm of ideological-position taking, which argues that parties compete to represent stable ideological preferences of their supporters at elections (“spatial voting theory”), instead of responding to shifting voter concerns of the changing economy, and that parties strive to legislate their partisan priorities in government (“party government theory”), resulting in the prevalence of neoliberal policies, as economies globalize, that discount the problems of jobs and income (i.e., personal wellbeing), which had traditionally been owned by the left.

 Competence claiming consists of four empirically testable assertions, which are evaluated by using data from 20 OECD countries from 1975 to 2012. Above all, mainstream political parties change their policy positions in response to economic cycles rather than maintaining fixed positions favoring either free markets or economic security. During booms, mainstream parties (regardless of ideology) address personal economic security issues, while they like-mindedly prioritize market-led economic revival during recessions by assuring financial markets and the central bank. Issues allegedly owned by the right and left parties are tackled sequentially, irrespective of partisanship. Second, government leaders seek legislative productivity instead of party government, being more accommodative to vocal opposition (to avoid gridlock) that increases policy stability despite government changes. Third, mainstream parties struggle to provide solutions among three conflicting demands: fiscal responsibility for market stability, market augmentation to spur growth, and personal economic security for political stability. As such, governments often pursue policies that are inexplicable by ideological positioning or neoliberal dominance: Cyclical fiscal adjustments are confined to government consumption; fiscal reforms often protect social expenditures (for personal wellbeing), aggravating the tension between the neoliberal goals of tax cuts and public debt reduction; and market reforms include measures to create new markets (not just promote competition) to generate employment, making governments reluctant to unilaterally cut unemployment expenditure or deregulate labor markets. And, finally, the main threat to competence claiming persuasion is anti-establishment populism that pander voters with dubious policy solutions, rather than ideological polarization characteristic of extreme position taking.