Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies

Hardcover | January 15, 2006

EditorKaare Strom, Wolfgang C. Muller, Torbjorn Bergman

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Comparative Politics is a series for students and teachers of political science that deals with contemporary issues in comparative government and politics. The General Editors are Max Kaase, Professor of Political Science, Vice President and Dean, School of Humanities and Social Science,International University Bremen, Germany; and Kenneth Newton, Professor of Comparative Politics, University of Southampton. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research.Today, parliamentarism is the most common form of democratic government. Yet knowledge of this regime type has been incomplete and often unsystematic. Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies offers new conceptual clarity on the topic. This book argues that representative democracies can be understood as chains of delegation and accountability between citizens and politicians. Under parliamentary democracy, this chain of delegation is simple but also long and indirect. Principal-agent theory helps us to understand the perils ofdemocratic delegation, which include the problems of adverse selection and moral hazard. Citizens in democratic states, therefore, need institutional mechanisms by which they can control their representatives. The most important such control mechanisms are on the one hand political parties and onthe other external constraints such as courts, central banks, referendums, and supranational institutions such as those of the European Union. Traditionally, parliamentary democracies have relied heavily on political parties and presidential systems more on external constraints. This new empirical investigation includes all seventeen West European parliamentary democracies. These countries are compared in a series of cross-national tables and figures, and seventeen country chapters provide a wealth of information on four discrete stages in the delegation process: delegationfrom voters to parliamentary representatives, delegation from parliament to the prime minister and cabinet, delegation within the cabinet, and delegation from cabinet ministers to civil servants. Each chapter illustrates how political parties serve as bonding instruments which align incentives andpermit citizen control of the policy process. This is complemented by a consideration of external constraints. The concluding chapters go on to consider how well the problems of delegation and accountability are solved in these countries. They show that political systems with cohesive andcompetitive parties and strong mechanisms of external constraint solve their democratic agency problems better than countries with weaker control mechanisms. But in many countries political parties are now weakening, and parliamentary systems face new democratic challenges.Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies provides an unprecedented guide to contemporary European parliamentary democracies. As democratic governance is transformed at the dawn of the twenty-first century, it illustrates the important challenges faced by the parliamentarydemocracies of Western Europe.

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Comparative Politics is a series for students and teachers of political science that deals with contemporary issues in comparative government and politics. The General Editors are Max Kaase, Professor of Political Science, Vice President and Dean, School of Humanities and Social Science,International University Bremen, Germany; and Ken...

Kaare Strom is at Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego. Wolfgang C. Muller is at Professor in Department of Government, University of Vienna.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:784 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 1.76 inPublished:January 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199291608

ISBN - 13:9780199291601

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Table of Contents

List of FiguresList of TablesList of ContributorsSection 1: Introduction and Theory1. Wolfgang C. Muller, Torbjorn Bergman, and Kaare Strom: Parliamentary Democracy: Promise and Problems2. Arthur Lupia: Delegation and its Perils3. Kaare Strom: Parliamentary Democracy and DelegationSection 2: Survey4. Torbjorn Bergman, Wolfgang C. Muller, Kaare Strom, and Magnus Blomgren: Democratic Delegation and Accountability: Cross-National Patterns5. Wolfgang C. Muller: Austria: Imperfect Parliamentarism but Fully-Fledged Party Democracy6. Lieven de Winter and Patrick Dumont: Belgium: Delegation and Accountability under Partitocratic Rule7. Erik Damgaard: Denmark: Delegation and Accountability in Minority Situations8. Tapio Raunio and Matti Wiberg: Finland: Polarized Pluralism in the Shadow of a Strong President9. Jean-Louis Thiebault: France: Delegation and Accountability in the Fifth Republic10. Thomas Saalfeld: Germany: Multiple Veto Points, Informal Co-ordination, and Problems of Hidden Action11. Georgios Trantas, Paraskevi Zagoriti, Torbjorn Bergman, Wolfgang C. Muller, and Kaare Strom: Greece: 'Rationalizing' Constitutional Powers in a Post-Dictatorial Country12. Svanur Kristjansson: Iceland: A Parliamentary Democracy with a Semi-Presidential Constitution13. Paul Mitchell: Ireland: 'O What a Tangled Web...' - Delegation, Accountability, and Executive Power14. Luca Verzichelli: Italy: Delegation and Accountability in a Changing Parliamentary Democracy15. Patrick Dumont and Lieven De Winter: Luxembourg: A Case of More 'Direct' Delegation and Accountability16. Arco Timmermans and Rudy B. Andeweg: The Netherlands: Rules and Mores in Delegation and Accountability Relationships17. Kaare Strom and Hanne Marthe Narud: Norway: Virtual Parliamentarism18. Octavio Amorim Neto: Portugal: Changing Patterns of Delegation and Accountability under the President's Watchful Eyes19. Carlos Flores Juberias: Spain: Delegation and Accountability in a Newly Established Democracy20. Torbjorn Bergman: Sweden: From Separation of Power to Parliamentary Supremacy - and Back Again?21. Thomas Saalfeld: The United Kingdom: Still a Single 'Chain of Command'? The Hollowing Out of the 'Westminster Model'Section 3: Analysis and Conclusion22. Kaare Strom, Wolfgang C. Muller, Torbjorn Bergman, and Benjamin Nyblade: Dimensions of Citizen Control23. Kaare Strom, Wolfgang C. Muller, and Torbjorn Bergman: Challenges to Parliamentary Democracy