Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research

By Fritz W. Scharpf | Go to book overview

Appendix 2
Efficient Self-Coordination in Policy Networks -- A Simulation Study

Fritz W. Scharpf and Matthias Mohr


THE PROMISE OF SELF-COORDINATION

Normative theories of representative democracy generally presuppose hierarchical governance. Democratic accountability seems to require that policy choices should originate from a unitary government (or a presidency) that is legitimated through competitive general elections, that they should be ratified by majority decisions in parliament, and that they should then be implemented by a disciplined bureaucracy relying on the superior force of the state and using resources collected through general taxation. By holding the governing hierarchy accountable to the general electorate, and by minimizing the direct influence of special interests on any phase of the policy process, the democratic process is supposed to produce policy outcomes that will maximize the general welfare of the polity.

In the real world of Western democracies, of course, actual policy choices are often worked out through negotiations among the representatives of partial interests in a great variety of arenas -- among ministerial departments, among coalition parties, among specialized legislative committees, between the federal government and the states, in transnational agreements, in neocorporatist concertation between the government and associations of capital and labor, or other representatives of sectoral self-organization, and in issue-specific policy networks involving interest organizations together with specialized subunits within the executive and legislative branches of government. Typically, parties to these negotiations not only represent particular interests but also are likely to control specific action resources -- jurisdictional competencies or the loyalty of certain segments of the population -- whose use may be essential for the achievement of policy goals.

All of these forms of negotiated policymaking present challenges to conventional democratic theory that are not yet well understood. During the 1970s and 1980s, the attention

Originally published as Discussion Paper 94/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, 1994.

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Games Real Actors Play: Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents ix
  • Tables and Figures xi
  • Acknowledgments xv
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 18
  • 1 - Policy Research in the Face of Complexity 19
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - Actor-Centered Institutionalism 36
  • Notes 49
  • 3 - Actors 51
  • Notes 67
  • 4 - Actor Constellations 69
  • Notes 93
  • 5 - Unilateral Action in Anarchic Fields and Minimal Institutions 97
  • Notes 114
  • 6 - Negotiated Agreements 116
  • Notes 147
  • 7 - Decisions by Majority Vote 151
  • Notes 168
  • 8 - Hierarchical Direction 171
  • Notes 193
  • 9 - Varieties of the Negotiating State 195
  • Notes 214
  • Appendix 1 - A Game-Theoretical Interpretation of Inflation and Unemployment in Western Europe 217
  • Notes 237
  • References 240
  • Appendix 2 - Efficient Self-Coordination in Policy Networks -- a Simulation Study 245
  • Notes 273
  • References 276
  • References 281
  • About the Book and Author 303
  • Index 305
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