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Lecture 4: Political Institutions in Southeast Asia

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  1. Lecture 4: Political Institutions in Southeast Asia Political Economy of Southeast Asia Edmund J. Malesky, Ph.D., UCSD

  2. Organization of Today’s Lecture • Constraints on Executive Decision Making • Electoral Institutions • Federalism/Decentralization

  3. Veto Points • It can be very complicated to remember all the players, institutions, parties, and cultures of so many diverse countries. • To deal with this political scientists have devised a short-cut • They count up the number of potential veto players (i.e. political actors who have the ability to block legislation). This can include chief executives, legislatures (one or two houses), and coalition partners in parliamentary systems. • A great deal of government activity can be explained through this lens.

  4. MacIntyre Complicates Matters Two Streams of Institutional Logic • Credible Commitment – Stable and dependable policy environment, and the ability to make binding promises. • Decisiveness - The importance of efficiency and flexibility in policy management, and the extent to which different institutions allow leaders to respond in a timely fashion. • MacIntyre attempts to fold these two ideas into a single theory.

  5. Veto Points in ASEAN 4 (1997) Indonesia Thailand Potential for Governance Problems Malaysia Philippines Dispersion of Decision-Making Power

  6. How does this explain reactions to the Financial Crisis? • How did countries with many veto-points respond? • Thailand was mired in gridlock and could not take a strong position. • How did countries with few veto-points respond? • Indonesia acted immediately and strongly, but soon reversed course, acting quickly and strongly in another direction.

  7. Malaysia and the Philiippines • According to MacIntyre, these countries had more moderate responses, because there were not as constrained as Thailand, and not as centralized as Indonesia. • Do you agree with that assessment?

  8. What does MacIntyre say happened to the countries after the crisis?

  9. Veto Points in ASEAN 4 (2001) Indonesia Indonesia 2001 Thailand Thailand 2001 Potential for Governance Problems Malaysia 2001 Malaysia Philippines Philippines 2001 Dispersion of Decision-Making Power

  10. How would you rank the countries today?

  11. Veto Points in ASEAN 4 (2008) 2006 : Military Coup Potential for Governance Problems 2005: TRT Victory in Snap Election Indonesia 2001 Indonesia 2008 2008: Jan. Elections Malaysia 2001 Malaysia 2008 Philippines 2001 Philippines 2008 Thailand 2001 Thailand 200? Dispersion of Decision-Making Power

  12. Now, let’s add the other SEA regimes

  13. Veto Points in Southeast Asia in 2008 Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China Laos, Vietnam Potential for Governance Problems Indonesia 2008 China (Malesky) Malaysia 2008 East Timor, Singapore Vietnam (Malesky) Thailand 2008 Philippines 2008 Dispersion of Decision-Making Power

  14. Legislative Rules • Electoral Formula (F) • Assembly Size (S) • Number of Districts (#) • District Magnitude (M) • Entry Threshold (T) • Term length (Le) • Term limits (Lm) • Appointed/Reserved Seats (A/R)

  15. Lower/Single Chamber Elected Using the Plurality Formula

  16. Lower/Single Chamber using Proportional Representation Modified list PR with flexible list

  17. Mixed-Member or Two-Tiered Systems

  18. Impact • Which of these systems is most likely to lead to personalistic (patronage) based voting? • Where do we see the highest degree of malapportionement? • Which systems will yield high turnover, which are more stable?

  19. Elected Second Chambers • Philippines (35-72, 87-Present), Plurality • Thailand (1997-2006), SNTV • Malaysia (1957), SNTV

  20. Elected Presidents (Executive Bodies)

  21. Other Important Institutional Actors • Monarchs • Political Parties • Regions

  22. Logic of Delegation in Indonesia Executive Office of the President (Plurality) Currently SBY - JK • Supreme Court • Military Court • Religious Court • General Court • Constitutional Court MPR People’s Consultative Assembly (Plurality) DPR House of People’s Representatives (550 Seats) Constitutional Council DPD (128 Provincial Reps) Cabinet State Audit Board

  23. 2004 Election Results (Indonesia)

  24. 2004 Presidential Candidates (Indonesia)

  25. Development State • Organizational complexes in which expert and coherent bureaucratic agencies collaborate with organized private sectors to spur national economic transformation. • Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan • Why not Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand?

  26. 1 2 3 4 5

  27. Decentralization • Deconcentration: Locality is agent of center • Delegation: Subnational governments are responsible for service delivery. • Devolution: Independent/Elected subnational bodies deliver services and impose fees.

  28. What is the motivation for decentralization? • Historical Legacy • Efficiency • Accountability • Less Corruption (?)

  29. BANG: Indonesian Decentralization

  30. Policy Education Financial Land and natural resource management Security Infrastructure Planning and licensing Legal system What affects investment and growth at the local level? Endowments • Educated labor force • Better access to credit • Natural resources • Good infrastructure Location • Near to a big city/market • Landlocked (or sealocked) • Topography

  31. Elections Poor economic performance can be punished by the people Political parties respond by putting forward better candidates There is a political market for good candidates Fiscal Transfers Central government’s key mechanism is through fiscal transfers Trade-off between providing funds based on: Need Fairness (revenue sharing) Performance Poverty Checks and Balances

  32. Why Do Single-Party Regimes Hold Elections? An Analysis of Candidate-Level Data in Vietnam’s 2007 National Assembly Contest Edmund Malesky & Paul Schuler, University of California – San Diego

  33. PUZZLE 1 • Vietnam spent roughly $22 million to administer the 2007 NA election. • More than it spent on targeted policies for poverty alleviation • The same amount it transferred to Thai Binh province last year. • Why spend any money at all? • What does an election provide that couldn’t be achieved more cheaply and effectively by other means?

  34. PUZZLE 2 • A number of Vietnamese analysts and scholars have pointed out the increasing role that the NA has played in recent years. • What is the source of this underlying power? • Little effort has yet to understand the reasons for the rise of a particularly influential president, or did it in fact result from institutional changes that empowered it relative to actors. • The most important factor for this empowerment would have to be an institutional means to hold leaders accountable. • The election could play some role in delivering this accountability.

  35. ORGANIZATION OF TALK • What does the literature tells us about elections in authoritarian regimes? • Specifics of the Vietnamese NA election. • Tests of the core theories in the literature. • Concluding remarks about the role of elections in Vietnam and what it means for the role the NA plays in policy-making.

  36. Emerging literature on Authoritarian Institutions • Elections serve no purpose other than window dressing (Friedrich and Brzezinski 1961). • Others have found robust correlations betweens having parliaments and regime stability (Magaloni 2007), longevity (Ghandi and Przeworski (2006) and economic growth (Wright 2008). • They argue that this is because NAs either provide accountability or co-opt opposition into the legislature. But they directly probe where accountability comes from. A key underlying assumption is elections. • Third branch of literature that directly explores the role that elections play in authoritarian institutions. • These are the hypotheses we look to explore in this paper.

  37. Core Hypotheses in The Field Signaling Regime Strength • H1: Elections in authoritarian regimes use high turnout to send a costly signal to potential challengers (Geddes 2006). • H2: Authoritarian regimes use elections to produce supermajorities and ward off potential challengers (Geddes 2006). Learning about Opposition • H3: Authoritarian regimes use elections to provide information on potential opposition within the regime and punish venal subordinates (Geddes 2006). Rent-Seeking • H4: Preferred candidates should win with higher percentages and higher turnouts in poorer, less educated provinces (Blaydes 2006). • H5: Incumbents should fare worse than new candidates because new candidates can promise rents above and beyond whatever the incumbent managed to deliver (Lust-Okar 2006). • H6 : Candidates who are holding or are likely to hold more powerful positions in the Party-State should have higher vote percentages (Lust-Okar 2004).

  38. Core Hypotheses in The Field Leadership Selection • H7: Delegates who take high-ranking positions in the NA should have earned higher vote percentages than other officials (Boix and Svolik 2007). • H8: Delegates who become government ministers should have earned higher vote percentages than other officials (Boix and Svolik 2007).

  39. Structure of the National Assembly • 30% percent are permanent, the rest meet twice a year • Divided into 10 Committees • Two most powerful: Committee on Financial and Budgetary Affairs and Legal Committee • 18-member Standing Committee selects committee assignments, future Central Election Board and distributes legislation to committees • Standing Committee includes NA chairman, four deputy chairmen, and the chairmen of the committees • Each committee has chairmen and 2-4 deputy chairmen • Deputy chairmen are technocrats • Chairmen typically represent party interests

  40. NOMINATION SYSTEM • 3 Types (Central, Local, Self) • All delegates must survive a complex vetting process called the “Five Gates”, which included the “Three Negotiations.” • Gate 1: National Assembly sets structure of future NA. • Gate 2: Institutions nominate at all levels, including self nomination. • Gate 3: Fatherland Front organizes preliminary list. • Gate 4: Local meeting with co-workers and neighbors. • Gate 5: Finalization of nomination list.

  41. Self-nominees • All could enter, not all could run. • The Vietnamese government heavily advertised the fact that there were 236 self-nominees (101 in HCMC alone) • 30 made final ballot, one elected • Some self-nominees withdrew nominations • Party self-nominees explained they did not have agreement from party cell. Võ Văn Sô in HCMC for example, withdrew because he said he had not cleared it with the party cell • Some self-nominees did not have support from their neighbors • Many candidates had less then 50% support from their neighbors, which disqualified them • Trần Anh Tuấn, for example, only had 7 of 34 support. According to the newspaper account, he was unemployed, had not worked in his field for a long time, and his nomination bid was embarrassing to his family, so they did not even go to the meeting. According to the article, those were the reasons he did not have the voter support.

  42. Elections • Election districts are multi-member with 4-6 candidates for 2-3 positions. Voter crosses out names of candidates they don’t want • 876 candidates (165 centrally nominated) in 182 districts with 493 elected • Candidates nominated locally and centrally. • Central nominees sent by central election board to provinces • Provincial election board places central nominees in districts • No central nominee runs against another • Space also created for self-nominees (30 survived vetting).

  43. Vietnamese Ballot

  44. H1: Turnout

  45. H2: Generating Super-Majorities *Some candidates may have had above fifty percent vote shares and still lost. However their percentages are not published, therefore they are included here as unelected.

  46. H3: Super-Majority for Big 5

  47. Two Electoral Mechanisms to Exploit. • Candidate to Seat Ratio • 3 types of districts (5/3, 4/2, 6/3) • Clearly, those in 3/5 districts have a higher probability of victory. • Difficulty of the Competition • Central nominees can be placed in any district in the country. • Local and self-nominees can be placed in district within the province. • This allows for a lot of opportunity to manipulate the competition of favored candidates.