By Samuel DeCanio
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Additional resources for Democracy and the Origins of the American Regulatory State
Indb 32 7/24/15 9:17:05 AM State Autonomy in Democratic Societies 33 and political decisions. In such situations, voters may become aware of information and explanations, but state actors may still act autonomously because the explanations of political events voters adopt fail to identify the actors or decisions responsible certain social relationships or decisions. This process involves a distinction between the understanding of politics by the public and by elites who are competing to control various decisions and inﬂuence certain social conditions.
First, the economic conditions that existed during this period did not mark the initial emergence of capitalism as an economic mode of production. This indicates that the origins and subsequent consolidation of American capitalism occurred before and then after the period that I am arguing saw the initial emergence of the regulatory state. Furthermore, aside from opposing the bureaucratic institutional form the state took, these groups opposed the policies these newly empowered bureaucracies implemented.
For example, if a party is removed from power because voters mistakenly believe the party was responsible for a policy that it actually did not implement, voters may inﬂuence the state without controlling it. Similarly, if voters seek to penalize politicians responsible for implementing an unpopular policy but cannot identify the politicians responsible for the policy, voters may lack the information necessary to control the government’s policy outputs even though their electoral decisions may inﬂuence the politicians and parties that hold power.
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