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Comparative Politics II. Classifying governments Luca Verzichelli / Filippo Tronconi Comparative Politics Academic year 2014-2015 Classifying governments: an old ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Comparative%20Politics%20II.%20Democratic%20Regimes.%20Then%20and%20Now

Comparative Politics II. Democratic Regimes.
Then and Now
  • Luca Verzichelli / Alessandro Chiaramonte
  • Comparative Political Institutions
  • Academic year 2016-2017

Classifying democratic governments an old puzzle
  • Recente important developments in the field of
    empirical comparative politics
  • Aggregate measures of democracy and democratic
    performance (Polity, Freedom House, V-Dem )
  • Historical analyses of democratic vs non
    democratic experiences (Linz, Brooker )
  • From transitional studies to area studies of
    democracy (Arab springs, Fukuyama .)

Three main branches of comparative government
  • We can look at the democratic/non democratic
    history of a regime.
  • We can look at the monocratic/collegial nature of
    the executive
  • We can look at the nature of the relationship
    between individual actors (leaders,
    representatives, unitary parties )
  • This classification recalls the three
    institutionalism, applying the classification to
    the study of contemporary democratic government
  • Classic (historical/sociological)
    institutionalism (Weber, Aron, Almond )
  • Legal constitutionalism (Bagehot, Duverger,
    Friedrich, von Beyme)
  • Rational institutionalism (Olson, Downs,
    Buchanan, Riker)

Long term dynamics of world regimes
  • 1) World regimes before the late 18th century
    traditional monarchies and a few republics
  •  2) The invention of the presidential system in
    the United States in 1787 after the failure of
    the 1776 confederal system
  •  3) Success of American presidentialism, spread
    of the idea in Latin America and its failure
    (1820s onwards)
  •  4) Development of parliamentarism in Europe
    under monarchical rule from the early 19th
    century to 1914. First exception France
    (parliamentary republic in 1875, the first ever)
  •  5) Difficulties experienced by parliamentary
    government in Europe from 1918 to 1945
  •  6) Spread of presidentialism in Africa from the
    1960s and its major problems instability and
    military rule
  •  7) The emergence of another political system,
    communism in 1918, its growth and its decline
    spread of presidentialism to replace communism in
    the ex- Soviet Union
  •  8) Presidentialism is thus the majority model
    across the world, typically in new countries, but
    with many different forms, most of which are
    vastly different from the original American
    model, the main alternative being parliamentarism
    (both monarchical and republican), which tends to
    characterise European (and Commonwealth)
  •  9) American presidential model has been
    successful in America, but almost exclusively in
    America does it deserve the criticisms it has
    received (Linz, Riggs)? If parliamentarism is
    praised, why has it not spread markedly beyond
    European (and Commonwealth) countries (except to
    a limited extent in Asia)?

Parliamentary democracy as a system of government
  • Paradox parliamentary government as prime
    ministerial government. Fusion between
    parliamentary majority and executive. Relative
    weakness of legislatures as autonomous
  • Long history of focus on the executive-legislative
    relationships. Traditional distinction based on
    the separation of powers vs. fused power systems
  • Then Congressional vs. Parliamentary government
    (Wilson 1885) a warning against the
    transformation of a too centralised federal
    system and too strong committee-based congress

New classification of democratic regimes
Cheibub, J. (2007), Presidentialism,
Parliamentarism, and Democracy. CUP.
1. Executive responsible to an elective chamber?
2. Is the president elected autonomously from the
rest of the Executive?
2. Is the cabinet responsible to the President?
MIXED democracy
Increasing importance of mixed democracy (Cheibub
  • New mixed democracies (semi-presidential systems)
    in Central-Eastern Europe, and Africa
  • Classic presidentialisms above all in

Varieties of parliamentarisms (A. Siaroff,
Varieties of Parliamentarianism in the Advanced
Industrial Democracies, International Political
Science Review 2003 24 445)
  • Cabinet dominance
  • Polarized systems with central role for a
    fragmented parliament
  • Cooperative policy making diffusion with a
    working parliament

Difficult agreement on what is semi-presidentialis
m P. Schleiter E. Morgan-Jones Review
Article. Citizens, Presidents and AssembliesThe
Study of Semi-Presidentialism beyond Duverger and
Linz (BJPS 2009)
  • Duverger defined semi-presidentialism as a new
    political system model. What does it mean?
  • Linz the constitutional format shares many of
    the perils of presidentialism,
  • Recent research has questioned the conceptual
    status of semi-presidentialism as a distinct
    regime type, and whether it has any distinct
    effects on politics.
  • New possible conceptual tools to clarify the
    research agenda in the form of principalagent
    theoretical work of democratic constitutions.

Conceptualization, Measurement, and Aggregation
of data on democratic regimes (Munck and
Verkuilen 2002)