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Rational Choice and Political Power$
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Keith Dowding

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781529206333

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529206333.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 19 September 2021

State Power Structures

State Power Structures

(p.113) 6 State Power Structures
Rational Choice and Political Power

Keith Dowding

Policy Press

Where Chapter 5 concentrated on the power debate in terms of the community power studies, Chapter 6 turns the argument to more general theories of the state notably pluralism and state autonomy theses. It critiques the policy community and policy network approaches notably in their claim that every policy has to be sold to influential constituencies. It also critiques the autonomy of the state thesis. Whilst pluralism has too rosy a picture of the relative power and influence of different sets of groups, the state autonomy thesis does not take enough account of the fact that the state is made up of numerous competing interests at all levels. It reviews the way in which rational choice models are utilized to examine different constituencies and sets of actors in the modern state. It then examines structural accounts of power in society and shows how long-term interests can be difficult to promote given the myopia that can accompany the manner in which politicians, with an eye on the electoral cycle act so as to increase their probability of being elected. It discusses the systematic luck of some groups and the systematic luck and the power of finance capital. Often the most pernicious aspects of the power and luck structure is the systematic luck of some groups that get what they want without having to wield the powers they enjoy. It concludes with an analysis of the role of business in the policy process examining the two logics of collective action. It summarizes how we measure power by looking at the five resources that bring power.

Keywords:   pluralism, state autonomy, systematic luck

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