Online ISSN 2286-0266
Print ISSN 1223-0685
Copyright © 2019
Œconomica by SOREC
Matei Alexandru APĂVĂLOAEI
Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti
This paper is going to argue that international political competition is a second-best option that can only keep political action (somewhat) in check, without imposing insurmountable obstacles in its path. Previous research has argued that the existence of several political jurisdictions allows citizens to vote with their feet and engage in international comparisons (yardstick competition), thus restricting the extent to which political entrepreneurs can extract resources. However, this external limit represented by international political competition suffers from several weaknesses. First, it is vulnerable to international political coordination. Second, leaving one’s immovable property behind, selling it at a loss, or abandoning one’s culture and close family are not costless decisions. Therefore, the material and spiritual burden of immigration are born by those exercising their option to vote with their feet. Thus, international political competition is not as simple as some cynics maintain: “if you do not like it here, you are free to go”. Third, international political competition must be considered a second-best option because it amounts to a choice between two state jurisdictions. In other words, people voting with their feet do not have a non-state option they can turn to and must choose between institutions of the same kind. Finally, we will argue that the prevailing attitude toward migrants may limit international political competition. Considering that states might practice a policy of forced integration of migrants, despite the unwillingness of the local population to live alongside individuals from a different cultural background, tensions may appear. Forced integration may lead to an inhospitable environment, thus deterring people from other territories from leaving their countries. Thus, nondiscriminatory, state-sponsored integration leads to more conflict and makes voting with one’s feet even more difficult for future migrants. Because of these reasons, international political competition may prove to be a far less stringent limit on political action than past research indicated.

ŒCONOMICA no. 3-4/2018
Keywords: limits of political competition, voting with one’s feet, limits of political action, political integration
JEL: B53, F15, F50
Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: A Short Comment on the Limits of International Political Competition