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The Political Economy of Non-Territorial Exit


Trent J. MacDonald

Territorial political organisation forms the backbone of western liberal democracies. However, political economists are increasingly aware of how this form of government neglects the preferences of citizens, resulting in dramatic conflicts. The Political Economy of Non-Territorial Exit explores the theoretical possibility of ‘unbundling’ government functions and decentralising territorial governance.
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Chapter 4: Political-jurisdictional possibilities and transitions

Trent J. MacDonald


In this chapter we present a framework describing the trade-off between inefficient markets, politics and jurisdictions, and apply it to the problem of jurisdictional design. The framework adapts the Djankov et al. (2003) model of the comparative social costs associated with an institution to analyse the institutional structures that exist in the political-jurisdictional Coase theorem. Different allocations of property rights and political authority associate to different institutional systems, which can be arrayed along a political-jurisdictional possibility frontier. We consider the tradeoffs as we move around that frontier, and suggest further applications of the model. Our approach provides an institutional efficiency-based approach to the evaluation of mixes of political-jurisdictional rules. We introduce a political-jurisdictional possibilities frontier (PJPF) to illustrate the space of property-authority allocations (as politicaljurisdictional rules) and a political-jurisdictional transformation frontier (PJTF) to illustrate movements about property-authority allocations. These build on the political-jurisdictional Coase theorem from the previous chapter, where three sources of inefficiencies were outlined: (1) political transaction costs (PTCs); (2) jurisdictional transaction costs (JTCs); and (3) market (contracting) transaction costs (CTCs). Consequently, these form the three axes of an institutional possibilities space, the contours of which represent the property right allocations (and hence societal efficiency) that are possible for a given society.

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