Collusion, Competition and Democracy - Part I
Title: Collusion, Competition and Democracy - Part I
Author: BARTOLINI, Stefano
Citation: Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1999, 11, 4, 435-470
This article deals with the concept and the problem of political competition and collusion with particular reference to democratic accountability and responsiveness. It starts with a discussion of the essence of competitive interaction with respect to other types of conflictual, negotiative or cooperative interactions. The relationship between competition and various conceptions of democracy is then discussed, identifying four independent dimensions: 'contestability' (conditions of entry); 'availability' (demand's elasticity); 'decidability' (the political offer); and 'vulnerability' (incumbents' safety of tenure). The paper concludes by discussing the relationships between competitive and collusive pushes in all aspects of political interactions, and criticizing the formal optimized models that fail to see the impossibility of parallel maximization of all dimensions of competition. Competition rests on a vast set of non-competitive preconditions and needs constraining-sustaining conditions, as it is unlikely to be effective in a world of rational, maximizing, selfish independent actors as much as it is in a world of communal closed groups.
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