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Heterogeneity, Voting, and Public Policy

PFM, Vol. 9 No. 3, (2009)

By distinguishing between surface- and deep-level heterogeneity, this paper explores how heterogeneity among voters might be incorporated into a theory of political economy. Central to this exploration is the distinction between organizations and orders. Existing theories of political economy typically assimilate a state to an organization, and with an election being a vehicle for choosing among competing plans for the organization to pursue. This treatment imposes a deep homogeneity among voters as an analytical point of departure. In contrast, we advance a treatment of polities as orders, with many different organizations operating within their boundaries. This alternative formulation provides analytical space for deep heterogeneity to enter the analysis, and also brings into the analytical foreground the constitutional framework within which state policy emerges.

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