Electoral Democracy – 2020 in the Light of Public Choice Theory: Lessons in Institutional Design for Russia

P. A. Orekhovsky
2021 Federalism  
2020 was marked by major landmark events. First of all, there is the political crisis in the United States related to the presidential elections. Secondly, there is the UK's secession from the EU. Finally, there is the unexpected return to power of left-wing forces in some Latin American countries. This forces us to return to the foundations and conclusions of the theory of public choice – a tool that allowed us to analyze and predict the political and economic behavior of modern electoral
more » ... dern electoral democracies.The paper states that the erosion of the middle class leads to the dominance of minorities and their priorities. The position of the median voter is losing its former significance. As a result, the political duopoly becomes unstable, in contrast to the model of political pluralism (oligopoly). The desire of middle-income countries with a high degree of social differentiation to adopt a bipartisan system in the hope that this will ensure political stability must be mistaken. In contrary to what was said, the construct of American federalism, which many scholars consider archaic, effectively defends horizontal democracy and discourages the imposition of values by aggressive minority coalitions. The use of one or another modification of the «electoral colleges» in the presidential and parliamentary elections would strengthen the federal principles of horizontal democracy in Russia. The article presents an analysis of two main approaches to the analysis of corruption – as «opportunistic behavior of an agent in the principal-agent model», and as «status rent». Criticism of the latter approach reveals the view of Russia as an «institutional mutant». Authors who interpret corruption as «status rent» tend to ignore the rent-seeking behavior of actors in rich countries. The article substantiates the idea of transferring to Russia the American legislation regulating the behavior of lobbyists, the contribution of funds to the electoral funds of parties and politicians. Such a transplant will dramatically reduce the volume of domestic corruption, while at the same time making the «electoral machines» much more transparent.
doi:10.21686/2073-1051-2021-1-62-79 fatcat:4nqqxeacmbcglk4zssz3kga6gq