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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: January 2010

8 - Producing an analytic narrative

Summary

Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of inquiry. The latter has to appropriate the material in detail, to analyze its different forms of development, to trace out their inner connection. Only after this work is done, can the actual movement be adequately described.

Karl Marx, “Afterword to the Second German Edition,” Capital: 301

Democratic governments have a strong interest in promoting behavioral consent, compliance with the demands of government that is freely given. Behavioral consent lowers the transaction costs of governance by reducing the need for monitoring and enforcement, but it is also a sine qua non of democracy. Without a considerable degree of consent, a regime is not, by definition, a democracy. But how do we know consent — or its absence — when we see it? Compliance is an incomplete surrogate. People comply for all kinds of reasons: fear of sanctions from governments or other citizens, economic returns, altruism, and ethical commitments that are rationally and strategically implemented. Although standard rational choice offers models of variation in compliance based on tangible incentives and sanctions, rational choice theorists generally fail to capture the ethical elements in the citizen's decision to behaviorally consent, particularly when the costs to the individual appear to exceed the benefits. As with studies of voting and some forms of collective action, standard rational choice accounts offer more guidance to understanding why people do not cooperate than why they do.