The Character of Democracy: How Institutions Shape Politics

Paperback | January 31, 2014

byRichard A. Clucas, Melody Ellis Valdini

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The Character of Democracy: How Institutions Shape Politics offers a uniquely comprehensive overview of the major democratic institutions found around the world, including electoral systems, party systems, presidential and parliamentary governments, legislatures, federalism, and constitutionalcourts. The authors first present five broad categories of democratic ideals that reflect the consent of the governed - meaningful elections, fair representation, accountability, majority rule and minority rights, and the functionality of the state - and then explain how well different institutionaldesigns live up to these democratic ideals. For each institution, they provide an in-depth treatment of its related literature, describe variations in how it is structured around the world, and explain why these variations are important to how democratic political systems work. Case studies of thepolitical structures found in Brazil, Germany, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States illustrate how differences in institutional design affect democratic government. Taking an analytical and scholarly approach that does not advocate any particular democratic design, The Character of Democracy is ideal for advanced courses in comparative politics and/or democratic institutions.

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The Character of Democracy: How Institutions Shape Politics offers a uniquely comprehensive overview of the major democratic institutions found around the world, including electoral systems, party systems, presidential and parliamentary governments, legislatures, federalism, and constitutionalcourts. The authors first present five broa...

Richard A. Clucas is Professor of Political Science at Portland State University and the Executive Director of the Western Political Science Association. He is the author of the Encyclopedia of American Political Reform (1997) and has published articles in Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Research Quarterly, State Politics and ...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:312 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.71 inPublished:January 31, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199945462

ISBN - 13:9780199945467

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Table of Contents

Preface1. DEMOCRATIC IDEALSIntroductionPurpose of the BookBrief Overview of Varieties of Institutional DesignsDiscussion of Seminal Literature on Consequences of InstitutionsThe Essential Ideals of Democratic Government- Meaningful Elections- Fair Representation- Accountability- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Functional State: Efficiency and EffectivenessThe Cultivation of LegitimacyCase StudiesOverview of Upcoming Chapters2. ROADS TO DEMOCRACYIntroductionINSTITUTIONAL CHOICE AND EMERGENCETHE LITERATURE ON INSTITUTIONAL ORIGINSInstitutional Choice- Elite Influences on Electoral Systems and Regime TypeHistorical Institutionalism- The Influence of Legacies and RegionInstitutional Choices within Historical ContextsSIX DIFFERENT SETS OF CONCERNS, SIX DIFFERENT SYSTEMSUnited Kingdom: Evolutionary Change toward Empowering the CommonsUnited States: Establishing Popular Rule and Protecting Against TyrannyGermany: Overcoming the Weimar and Nazi LegaciesJapan: Protecting Against the Past while Ensuring AcceptanceBrazil: Finding Compromise among a Multitude of InterestsSouth Africa: Providing Majority Rule while Building ConsensusINSTITUTIONAL ORIGINS IN PERSPECTIVE3. HOW ELECTIONS MATTERIntroductionELECTORAL SYSTEM FAMILIESAttributes of Majoritarian Electoral Systems- Single-Member District System- Run-Off Voting- Alternative VotingAttributes of Proportional Electoral Systems- Closed List Proportional Representation- Open List Proportional Representation- Flexible List Systems- Single Transferable VotingVariations within Proportional SystemsDuverger and the Effect of Electoral Systems on Party GovernmentCase Study: Two plus parties in the United KingdomThe Effect of the Electoral System on Democratic Ideals- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Functional State: Effectiveness and Efficiency- Accountability- Fair Representation- Meaningful ElectionsAttributes of Mixed Member Electoral SystemsThe Effect of Mixed Member Systems on Democratic IdealsCase Study: Germany's Experiences with a Mixed SystemTHE PERSONAL VOTEAttributes of the Personal VoteThe Effect of the Personal Vote on Democratic IdealsCase Study: Profound Proportionalism in BrazilELECTORAL SYSTEMS IN PERSPECTIVE4. LINKAGE INSTITUTIONS AND REPRESENTATIVESIntroductionPOLITICAL PARTIESRoles of Political Parties in DemocraciesCase Study: Candidate Selection in the UKParty Systems- Classifications of Party Systems- Effective Number of Political Parties- Forces that Shape Party Systems- Common Parties and IdeologiesThe Effect the Party System on Democratic Ideals- Fair Representation- Functional State: Efficiency and Effectiveness- Meaningful ElectionsCase Study: Party System in GermanyINTEREST GROUPSAttributes of Interest Groups in Democracies- Lobbying- Formation of Interest GroupsInterest Group Systems- Pluralism- NeocorporatismEffect of Interest Group Systems on Democratic Ideals- Fair Representation- AccountabilityCase Study: Quasi-Neocorporatist System of JapanREPRESENTATIVESAttributes of RepresentativesThe Effect of Legislative Diversity on Democratic Ideals- Meaningful Elections- Fair RepresentationCase Study: Ethnic Group Representation in South AfricaLINKAGE INSTITUTIONS AND REPRESENTATIVES IN PERSPECTIVE5. PRESIDENTIAL AND PARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENTSIntroductionPARLIAMENTARY GOVERNMENTDefining Parliamentary GovernmentAttributes of Parliamentary Systems- Selection of Prime Minister through the Assembly- Centralization of Power in the Cabinet- Central Role Played by Political Parties- Cabinet Responsibility to the Assembly- Government's Discretion over ElectionsParty Systems and Parliamentary GovernmentPRESIDENTIAL GOVERNMENTDefining Presidential GovernmentAttributes of Presidential Systems- Separate Election of the President- Diffusion of Power in the Government- Weak Political Parties- Cabinet Responsibility to the President- Fixed Term ElectionsThe Effect of Regime Type on Democratic Ideals- Functional State: Efficiency and Effectiveness- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Fair Representation- Meaningful Elections- AccountabilityCase Studies: UK and US Responses to the Economic CrisisSEMI-PRESIDENTIAL SYSTEMSDefining Semi-Presidential GovernmentThe Uncertain Effects of Semi-Presidentialism on Democratic Ideals- Functional State: Efficiency and Effectiveness- Fair RepresentationThe Effect of Regime Type on StabilityREGIME TYPE IN PERSPECTIVE6. THE LEGISLATURE IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTIntroductionTHE ROLE OF LEGISLATURES IN POLICYMAKINGAttributes Of Legislatures in Parliamentary SystemsFactors that Strengthen Parliaments- The Importance of Strong Committee Systems- Legislative Control of the AgendaCase Study: Germany's Working AssemblyAttributes of Legislatures in Presidential SystemsResources that Alter the Distribution of Power- Legislative Powers Granted to the President- The Impact of the Party System on Presidential Power- The Impact of Legislative OrganizationCase Study: Brazil's Centrifugal SystemThe Effect of Greater Legislative Autonomy on Democratic Ideals- Functional State: Efficiency and Effectiveness- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Fair Representation- AccountabilityTHE ROLE OF LEGISLATURES IN OVERSEEING THE EXECUTIVEAttributes of Different Oversight StructuresFactors that Affect Oversight Capacity and EffectivenessCase Studies: Oversight in the US and JapanUNICAMERAL VERSUS BICAMERAL LEGISLATURESAttributes of Bicameral SystemsDiffering Perspectives on the Significance of BicameralismThe Effect of Two Chambers on Democratic Ideals- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Functional State: Efficiency and EffectivenessLEGISLATURES IN PERSPECTIVE7. THE GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF POWERIntroductionDEFINING GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS OF POWER- Unitary- Federal- ConfederalAlternative Definitions and ConceptsATTRIBUTES OF FEDERAL SYSTEMS OF GOVERNMENT- Bicameral Legislatures- Rigid Constitution- High Court with Judicial Review- Presence of Intergovernmental InstitutionsVariations within Unitary and Federal SystemsCase Study: Decentralization but not Federalism in the UKThe Effect of the Geographic Distribution of Power on Democratic Ideals- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Balance of Interests in Multiethnic Societies- Fair Representation- Functional State: Efficiency and Effectiveness- AccountabilityCase Studies: Alternative Forms of Federalism in Brazil and South AfricaGEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF POWER IN PERSPECTIVE8. THE HIGH COURTIntroductionTHE ROLE OF HIGH COURTS IN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTAttributes of High CourtsJudicial IndependenceThe Effect of Judicial Independence on Democratic Ideals- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- AccountabilityCase Study: Low Judicial Independence in JapanJUDICIAL BEHAVIORLegal and Attitudinal Models of Judicial BehaviorFactors that Shape Judicial BehaviorJUDICIAL REVIEWStrength of Judicial ReviewDifferences in Judicial Review ProceduresThe Effect of Judicial Review on Democratic Ideals- Balance of Interests: Majority Rule and Minority Rights- Accountability- Functional State: Efficiency and EffectivenessCase Study: Judicial Review in the United StatesDIVERSITY ON THE BENCHRace, Ethnicity and Gender of JusticesCausal Factors in Judicial UnderrepresentationThe Effect of Court Diversity on Democratic Ideals- Fair Representation- Functional State: Efficiency and EffectivenessHIGH COURTS IN PERSPECTIVE9. A VALUES CHOICE: THE BALANCE OF DEMOCRATIC IDEALSIntroductionTHE DIFFERENT INSTITUTIONS OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTBALANCE OF IDEALS: CASE BY CASE ANALYSISUnited KingdomUnited StatesGermanyJapanBrazilSouth AfricaLEGITIMACY: A MEASURE OF DEMOCRATIC QUALITYCultivation of Legitimacy through the Balance of Democratic IdealsAppendix

Editorial Reviews

"The authors make a compelling argument about the relationship between democratic institutions and democratic values. This book has the potential to make important contributions both to democratic theory and the study of political institutions." --Emily Beaulieu, University of Kentucky