The Influence of Public Opinion on the Policy Choices of Public Choices
To answer this question one must have a clear understanding of the terms ‘Public Opinion’ and ‘Public Choice’. The pooled or collective perspective of the public concerning a specific issue may be termed as Public Opinion. Political economy is an issue, which has enormous implications on the daily lives on the population of any democracy. The Public Choice theory presents the scope of using economic tools to evaluate issues traditionally belonging to the domain of political science.
In a democracy, the most prevalent form of understanding Public Opinion is through elections. However, the extent to which the voter’s judgment influences the policy-making process is an issue that is highly controversial. Issues become more intricate, as public policy and market competition do not share similar attitudes or for a matter of fact the same constraints.
Firstly, a unified public opinion is very difficult to be formed. Collective opinion need to fit the aphorism “one size fits all”. Issues generally receive a fractured mandate. This heads for reduced welfare and convoluted trade-offs.
Administrative agents are generally elected or chosen on the grounds of political benefaction and owe modest loyalty to those whose predilection they stand for. The principal-agent predicament frequently causes policymakers to take the corrupt path giving their self-interests a lot of importance and the mass continues to be unaware of actual action.
An impartial press may perhaps bring about transparency in legislative procedures. However, the administration is often proficient enough to dominate the press. Governments acquire various media forms and put together the state-owned and private press agencies as a fraction of the privileged elite. Thus, they are obliged to change, modify or tailor the public opinion.
Principal-agent expedience inclines towards being controlled efficiently via market competition. Nevertheless, it is difficult to reconstruct an identical discipline where subjects are determined by the government. Collective choices entail indistinct and ambiguous give and take. The enticements to take a back seat during the giving phase and to capitalize on opportunities in the taking phase are a significant moral danger. Tax offerings to collective initiatives necessitate compulsion, imposing high agency expenses. This frequently leads to a sense of subjection and disenfranchisement among the tax-paying resident-principals. The division of the advantages of collective initiatives is also determined by the political agents, empowering them to great extent.
Re-election intentions are influential in the policy-making process. Elected representatives think a lot about their re-election prospects. If such intentions conflict with public opinion, the later is highly unheeded.
Common people elect their representatives to represent and implement their opinions in democracies. However, the autonomy and the will to act upon the responsibilities of the representatives are impeded by the demands of the political party of the elected personnel. Therefore, most political choices are in effect made by undersized influential committees instead of the chosen majority of the parliamentarians who are accountable to the mass. Only a few key decision-makers are part of the decision-making process and they determine the party’s take on a particular issue. Hence, public opinion is not properly reflected in policy choices and the process itself is held at ransom by some self-seeking minorities.