Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wanted: Positive Political Analysis

Can anyone tell me what national interest means? I have been trying to translate it into a kind of operative utility function to which politician might want to maximize as suggested by our numerous political pundits in their so-called analysis of Indonesian election campaign. And it goes nowhere.

The more workable proposition is to take that politicians are self interested or partisan, that is, trying to maximize social welfare function for disproportionate benefit of particular group in society (Persson and Tabellini, 2000). With that, your positive analysis for social calculus could fly better. Of course after you carefully set up the payoff, constraints, political market structure, as well as sufficiently address the problem of time consistency in your analysis.

Otherwise, you'd end up with empty boring statement like politician must put national before individual interest to make everyone happy; or politician running for this year's election must follow the example of (fill in the name of your favorite dead politicians from 1950s) who was a genuine defender of national interest. Yadda yadda yadda.

1 comment:

  1. i can only explain "national interest rate", have no idea if without "rate".