Understanding Variations in Democratic Governance “There are many ways in which, in principle, a democracy can be organized and run; in practice, too, modern democraies exhibit a variety of formal governmental institutions, like legislatures and courts, as well as political party and interest group systems” (Lijphart, 1).
Understanding Variations in Democratic Governance The Lincolnian/Wesbterian definition: government, of, by and for the people.
Understanding Variations in Democratic Governance Question: “who will do the governing and to whose interests should the government be response when the people are in disagreement and have divergent preferences?” (Lijphart, 1). Answer 1: The Majority. Answer 2: As many people as possible.
Lijphart’s 10 Variables 1-5: The Executive-Parties Dimension Institutions, or institutional characteristics, described by the variables The range of the variables fromto 1. CabinetsConcentration of executive power in single-party majority cabinets Power-sharing in broad multiparty coalitions 2. Executive-legislative relations Executive-legislative relationships in which the executive is dominant Executive-legislative balance of power 3. Party systemsTwo-party systemsMultiparty systems 4. Electoral systemsMajoritarian and disproportional electoral systems Proportional representation 5. Interest groupsPluralist interest group systems with free- for-all competition among groups Coordinated and "corporatist" interest group systems aimed at compromise and concertation
Lijphart’s 10 Variables 6-10: The Federal-UnitaryDimension Institutions, or institutional characteristics, described by the variables The range of the variables fromto 6. Division of powerUnitary and centralized governmentFederal and decentralized government 7. Parliaments and congresses Concentration of legislative power in unicameral legislature Division of legislative power between two equally strong but differently constituted houses 8. ConstitutionsFlexible constitutions that can be amended by simple majorities Rigid constitutions that can be changed only by extraordinary majorities 9. ConstitutionsSystems in which legislatures have the final word on the constitutionality of their own legislation Systems in which laws are subject to a judicial review of their constitutionality by supreme or constitutional courts 10. Central banksCentral banks that are dependent on the executive Independent central banks
Issues Ideal Types v. Reality Purposes of such study As a means of identification, classification and understanding To make a judgment (and not necessarily a normative one): does this stuff matter?