SFB Governance working paper series / Englische Ausgabe ; 26
321 Systems of governments and states
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While it is widely acknowledged that effectiveness and legitimacy both play an important
role in the evaluation of governance, the causal relationship between these two concepts is far from clear. While some theorists hold that there is an inevitable trade-off between the demands of effectiveness and legitimacy, others argue that both qualities are mutually reinforcing. The aim of this paper is to shed light on the relationship between these two standards under conditions of limited statehood. The paper is organized into three sections: In the first section I will define the central concepts of effectiveness and legitimacy. While the main features of the concept of effectiveness are straightforward, the concept of legitimacy is notoriously opaque. In the second section, I will argue that the causal relationship between effectiveness and legitimacy is far more complex than usually assumed. Most scholars describe the connection as a virtuous circle: The more effective a political order or institution is, the more legitimate it is, and the more legitimate it is, the more effective it becomes. While the causal pathway from legitimacy to effectiveness is well understood, this does not hold true for the reverse connection from effectiveness to legitimacy. I will therefore identify four necessary conditions which have to be met in order to make the virtuous circle argument compelling. These are the conditions of (1.) “instrumental legitimacy belief,” (2.) “shared social goals,” (3.)
“transparency,” and (4.) “generalization”. Finally, I will argue that these conditions are serious challenges to effective and legitimate governance in areas of limited statehood.
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