This book confronts one of the central questions of political science: how people choose to accept or not to accept particular governments. In contrast to the prevailing view that citizens' decisions about the legitimacy of their governments are strongly conditioned by political culture and socialization and are hence largely non-rational, Ronald Rogowski argues that such decisions may indeed be the product of rational choice.
The book proceeds both from recent work in the theory of voting and constitutional choice and from the older tradition of contract theory to postulate that decisions about legitimacy are really choices among alternative regimes. The author suggests that members of a society choose among these alternative regimes on the basis of a knowledge of ethnic and occupational divisions in their society. From these postulates a general theory is derived, which finds expression in numerous testable hypotheses.
Originally published in 1974.
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Another Princeton book authored or coauthored by Ronald Rogowski: