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Political Self-Interest vs. Advocacy for Others Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 10th, 2021

Introduction

Political self-interest may seem like an integral and natural phenomenon, yet the ability to focus on the needs of the population should be put at the forefront of decision-making to maintain democratic values and promote economic and political well-being within a state. Therefore, identifying the cases of politicians running on platforms that are beneficial to their interests is an objective to be completed in order to keep the efficacy of the government high and minimize the threat of corruption and bureaucracy (Mintz 107). By analyzing current events in politics and inferring critical information about key political agents’ motivation from them, one will be able to define the instances of politicians using their platforms to pursue their personal interests and ignore the needs of the population.

Thus, the question that this research will strive to answer is how the awareness about current events in politics allows inferring whether a politician runs on the platform that is beneficial to their personal interests or whether one acts on behalf of others as a political agent. The importance of the question under research is rather self-explanatory since a politician who runs on a platform based on their own benefits and interests is highly unlikely to represent their target demographic and their needs properly.

Scope

The current scope of the project can be described as rather vast since the goal thereof is to determine general trends in the manifestation of behaviors and decision-making techniques utilized for the personal benefits of the politicians. Specifically, the study will explore the issue under analysis as a worldwide phenomenon, with examples taken from different political contexts. Thus, a general trend in the behaviors and attitudes of politicians that tend to pursue personal gain will be located.

Limitations of the proposed approach toward defining the scope of the research should be mentioned. Due to the broad grasp of the subject matter, the inevitable dismissal of culture-specific characteristics and motivations of political figures’ actions will be ignored. As a result, the precision of the research outcomes will drop slightly due to the increased extent of generalizations (Kalla and Broockman 151). However, the specified issue can be addressed by introducing culture- and state-specific contexts to the measures developed to address a specific case of mismanaging one’s political power.

In addition, the time frame of the research will be bound to the recent cases of politicians mismanaging their power or abusing it. The political conflicts and scandals that have taken place since the late 20th century will be studied profusely for the research in order to define a paradigm in the decision-making process and connect the chances of discovering it to the use of the current events’ analysis (Hyytinen et al. 73). By limiting the time frame of the study, one will be able to gather the most relevant information and link it to the context of the contemporary political issues, agendas, and dilemmas. Thus, the outcomes of the research will inform the design of prevention measures against politicians’ pursuit of personal gain.

Therefore, the research results are going to be generalizable, yet they will retain the specificity required for constructing a manageable approach for handling the problem under analysis. The proposed approach toward the analysis will offer to introspect into the motivations of political figures and the key themes in their discourse. Moreover, a direct connection between the analysis of the political and social context and the politicians’ propensity to focus on personal benefits will be delineated with the help of the quantitative analysis (Dower et al. 131). As a result, the main hypothesis of the paper, which concerns the presence of the link between the analysis of current events and the identification of tendencies among politicians to use their power for personal benefits, will be identified.

Theory

In order to analyze the connection between current events and the ability to determine the intentions of political figures regarding their choices in the local and global policymaking, one will need to deploy several theoretical perspectives. The theory of Rational Choice will guide one to the understanding of the factors that define the outcomes of decision-making. Created by a group of economic scientists in the 1960ies, the Theory of Rational Choice (RCT) allows determining the reasons behind one’s decision-making from an economic perspective and the concept of self-interest (Orvis and Drogus 117). Thus, the proposed tool can be used to build the premise for rationalizing the decisions made by politicians in the context of a particular economic and legal environment (Blau 38). According to Lowndes et al., the RCT allows determining “how, in any particular situation, people might behave given their expectations of how other rational and self-interested people are going to behave” (p. 41). Thus, the framework of RCT will assist in analyzing the phenomenon in question.

However, applying solely the RCT would not be sufficient for a comprehensive analysis of the phenomenon and the investigation of the role that the assessment of current political events has on the identification of unfair inclinations in politicians. In addition to the suggested theoretical framework, the perspective of the Cybernetic Theory of Decision-Making (CTDM) should be incorporated into the analysis (Guilhot, 2017). The specified theory was developed by Herbert Simon in 1985 and was believed to provide the foundation for the analysis of the decision-making process in politics (Jervis 21). According to the key tenets of the CTDM, the process of selecting the most appropriate solution for a particular political dilemma is limited to a tangible extent by the cognitive limitations of the participants, as well as the specific regulations imposed on them in the target political context (Liu 116). The described theoretical approach provides a different manner of looking at the focus on political benefits as the primary area of concern among political figures and seek solutions to the constraints that limit politicians in the number of options.

The combination of the described theoretical frameworks will inform the approach toward addressing the problem of the unceasing pursuit of self-interest and self-oriented goals by leading figures in politics and leaders of political parties. Supporting the observations made based on the analysis of the current events, the theories in question will guide one to a better understanding of the motifs of political agents that focus solely on personal benefit. Moreover, the theories under consideration will be used to create effective methods of managing the problem at hand by introducing politicians to alternative methods of decision-making (Claes and Hooghe 37). Furthermore, the described theories will allow shaping the existing political system to address the constraints that limit politicians in their selection of solutions to specific dilemmas. As a result, opportunities for shaping the political agenda and furthering the notions of honesty, integrity, and meeting the needs of vulnerable groups will be possible.

Proposed Methods

Selecting an appropriate research method for addressing the issue at hand is critical since it will determine the veracity and accuracy of the outcomes. Thus, one will determine the connection between the awareness about the current events and the ability to locate the cases in which politicians run on the platforms that advance their personal interests. Since the case under consideration demands a study of cause-and-effect relationships between the variables in question, the use of the quantitative design is recommended. At the same time, the nature of the relationships under analysis will have to be explored in order to ensure that the assessment of politicians’ intentions and the reasoning behind their choices is performed with the required degree of accuracy (Sheffer et al. 308). The specified relationships between the current events and the politicians’ intentions will require applying qualitative analysis and gathering the appropriate type of data. Herein the application of the mixed research design will be required.

In the study in question, the relationships between two variables will be examined. The behaviors of politicians who pursue their personal gain in their decision-making will be the key dependent variable, whereas the results of current events’ analysis will be regarded as the independent variable. The qualitative aspect of the research will require collecting information by considering the existing cases of politicians whose choices were defined as self-serving as the events that were associated with the described phenomenon (Searing et al. 228). As soon as the samples of discourse are retrieved, the use of the discourse analysis will have to be considered to locate the connection between the variables in question. During the discourse analysis, key themes in the discourse selected of the assessment purposes will be identified.

The quantitative part of the research will be performed by using 50 samples of discourse and analyzing the link between the changes in the intensity of current events and the number of cases involving any kind of pursuit of personal gain in politicians. The resulting connection between the two phenomena will help to prove that there is an urgent need in connecting the assessment of current events in politics to the design of precaution measures against the development of self-interest in strategies used by influential politicians (Grossman and Michelitch 294).

The adoption of the mixed research type will help to locate the correlation between the current event analysis and the identification of politicians’ intentions and measure it statistically. The outcomes of the study will prove whether the selected framework of current event analysis offers any advantages in evaluating the rationale behind politicians’ decision-making (Carnes and Hansen 702). Moreover, the results of the research will provide the basis for the development of a monitoring system that will help to avoid the instances of politicians pursuing their personal gains as opposed to the needs of the general population in the future.

Conclusion

To determine the propensity among politicians to use their platforms as the vehicles for pursuing their personal needs and promoting their own agenda instead of the concerns of their population, one will need to scrutinize current events in politics. With the analysis of the key trends in representing political agendas on a global level, one will infer the common characteristics of the politicians that are being dishonest with their target demographic and abusing their power to gain greater influence and profit.

To perform the analysis in question and develop an insight into the characteristics of the politicians that abuse their influence on governmental practices, one will need a qualitative analysis as the foundation for the study. The review of the most recent cases involving political dishonesty and the misuse of one’s political power will allow discerning the primary methods of detecting the threat of fraudulence in the political choices of an individual. Thus, the cases in which politicians will use their platform to advance the agenda that is financially beneficial to them and not to the well-being of their audiences will be avoided.

If the need to follow through with this study emerges, other research could become a possibility. For instance, one may need to classify current events to determine the significance of each type in the location of dishonest political choices. The search for the approaches that can be used to eradicate the possibility of pursuing self-interest for political figures could be another important stage in the management of the problem at hand. Thus, solutions to the current concern would be provided, and the tools for monitoring the situation on the political arena would emerge. The suggested focus of the follow-up study bears especially high significance and urgency given the need to address the problems faced by underserved, underprivileged, and generally vulnerable groups, whose rights are marginalized due to the self-serving strategies used by dishonest politicians.

The outcomes of the study will assist in increasing the general efficacy of political choices on the local and statewide levels. Although close monitoring of the decisions made by politicians in every domain is barely possible, locating the choices that are ethically questionable and, thus, demanding a further inquiry into the intentions of the people who make them will become viable. As a result, politicians will represent people’s needs more accurately and apply ethical standards to the process of decision-making in order to cater to the needs of vulnerable groups first.

References

Blau, Adrian. Methods in Analytical Political Theory. Cambridge University Press, 2015.

Carnes, Nicholas, and Eric R. Hansen. “Does paying politicians more promote economic diversity in legislatures?” American Political Science Review, vol. 110, no. 4, 2016, pp, 699-716.

Claes, Ellen, and Marc Hooghe. “The effect of political science education on political trust and interest: Results from a 5-year panel study.” Journal of Political Science Education, vol. 13, no. 1, 2017, pp. 33-45.

Dower, Paul Castañeda, et al. “Collective Action and Representation in Autocracies: Evidence from Russia’s Great Reforms.” American Political Science Review, vol 112, no. 1, 2018, pp. 125-147.

Grossman, Guy, and Kristin Michelitch. “Information dissemination, competitive pressure, and politician performance between elections: A field experiment in Uganda.” American Political Science Review, vol. 112, no. 2, 2018, 280-301.

Guilhot, Nicolas. After the Enlightenment. Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Hyytinen, Ari, et al. “Public Employees as Politicians: Evidence from Close Elections.” American Political Science Review, vol. 112, no. 1, 2018, pp. 68-81.

Jervis, Robert. Perception and misperception in international politics: New edition. Princeton University Press, 2017.

Kalla, Joshua L., and David E. Broockman. “The Minimal Persuasive Effects of Campaign Contact in General Elections: Evidence from 49 Field Experiments.” American Political Science Review, vol. 112, no. 1, 2018, pp. 148-166.

Liu, Xinsheng. Modeling Bilateral International Relations: The Case of U.S.-China Interactions. Springer, 2016.

Lowndes, David, et al. Theory and Methods in Political Science. Macmillan International Higher Education, 2017.

Mintz, Alex. Integrating Cognitive and Rational Theories of Foreign Policy Decision Making: The Polyheuristic Theory of Decision. Springer, 2016.

Orvis, Stephen, and Carol Ann Drogus. Introducing comparative politics: Concepts and cases in context. CQ Press, 2017.

Searing, Donald D., et al. “The Endurance of Politicians’ Values Over Four Decades: A Panel Study.” American Political Science Review, vol. 113, no. 1, 2019, pp. 226-241.

Sheffer, Lior, et al. “Nonrepresentative Representatives: An Experimental Study of the Decision Making of Elected Politicians.” American Political Science Review, vol. 112, no. 2, 2018, pp. 302-321.

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