Measuring Citizen Ownership of the State

26 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2021

See all articles by Abul Azad

Abul Azad

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Date Written: December 2020


This paper defines citizen ownership of the state (COS) as a combination of an acceptable election and implementation of the election promises. It introduces a two-tier measurement of the COS. Tier 1 by using election results determines whether the COS existed or not during a past period of time and Tier 2 using election promise implementation status determines how much the COS existed. Then, a combination of Tier 1 and Tier 2 scores results in an overall COS. At Tier 2, the paper argues, the level of implementation of election promises is a measurement of the COS. The paper models the authority of a representative government to a power of attorney. The citizen as principal awards a power of attorney to the winning individual, party or alliance as an agent in their election. In the election, the set of election promises of the agent becomes the only written part of the power of attorney. The 2009-2012 tenure of USA President Barack Obama is used to test how the methodological approach works with empirical data. The test finds Tier 2 COS at 70.7 percent and party intrusion into the COS at 29.3 percent in the tenure. After averaging Tier 1 and Tier 2 COS scores, the overall COS stands at 85.35 percent on a 0-100 scale.

Keywords: Citizen ownership of the state (COS), Election promises, Power of attorney, President Obama, Representative government

Suggested Citation

Azad, Abul, Measuring Citizen Ownership of the State (December 2020). V-Dem User Working Paper 2020:37, Available at SSRN: or

Abul Azad (Contact Author)

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) ( email )

15 Broadway, Ultimo
PO Box 123
Sydney, NSW 2007

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