Extracting Legitimacy : Input, Throughput, and Output Legitimacy in the Mining Industry

Abstract: Legitimacy affects questions on constitutional design, international political regimes, and specific policy sectors. Although it permeates society at various levels, legitimacy becomes particularly crucial when decisions hold long-term or permanent consequences. In democratic societies, decisions on electoral reform or constitutional amendments typically include various checks and balances to increase the legitimacy of the outcome and similarly, on a smaller scale, resource development also undergoes of series of checks and balances to improve legitimacy. I investigate one such resource development, mineral extraction, to look at key factors of input, throughput, and output legitimacy in a policy sector with long-term or permanent outcomes.If the strength of the input legitimacy (democratic, participatory quality) is high, then a deficit of output legitimacy (decisions, outcomes) can be overlooked –and vice-versa. This interpretation of legitimacy focuses on the decision-making process and the outcomes, but with the active role companies take in mining operations it becomes critical to consider the non-state actors involved in the process. To address this additional piece of this equation, throughput legitimacy is utilized to analyze the effect of relationships in policy decisions. By looking at the quality of interaction, this thesis investigates where throughput fits within the three dimensions of legitimacy in the mining sector.Using interview and survey data from Sweden and Canada, this research in this thesis addresses both theoretical and empirical issues. Theoretically, the effect of multiple actors on the policy process legitimacy of policy processes are explored. Using the input, throughput, and output legitimacy trichotomy provides a basis through which to investigate the changes engendered by different governance arrangements and their effect on legitimacy. When support for policy also depends on activity outside the formal processes of government, the implications for legitimacy change –creating a new theoretical criterion. Empirically, the qualities and factors that affect the legitimacy of a process are identified. The findings of this thesis provide insight on future process designs; understanding the relationship between participation, interaction, and outcomes inresource development processes and the factors critical to legitimacy emerges and endures.