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European University Viadrina Electoral Politics in new European Democracies Lecturer Prof. Dr. Timm Beichelt Referee Charlotte Müllenbroich

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Presentation on theme: "European University Viadrina Electoral Politics in new European Democracies Lecturer Prof. Dr. Timm Beichelt Referee Charlotte Müllenbroich"— Presentation transcript:

1 European University Viadrina Electoral Politics in new European Democracies Lecturer Prof. Dr. Timm Beichelt Referee Charlotte Müllenbroich Frankfurt / Oder, 20th June 2007 Institutional Engineering in the post-transformation period

2 1.Institutions and rational choice neo-institutionalism 2.Electoral engineering 3.Constitutional engineering in constitution-making processes 4.Conclusions 5.References Overview Institutional Engineering in the post-transformation period

3 Political Institutions formal (and informal) rules regulating all political behaviour and the political process fix how authority and power is constituted, exercised, legitimated, controlled and redistributed constitution, government, parliament, electoral laws define the rules of the political democratic game: who can play, when and how

4 New / Neo -Institutionalism ‚old institutionalism‘: „Grandpa`s political science“ (v. Beyme 2001) describing / comparing formal institutions of government / state new institutionalism: institutions determine both the behaviour of political actors and the social and political outcomes institutions matter the concrete design of institutions matter

5 New / Neo -Institutionalism 3 approaches: institutional development characterized by Historical: path dependency Sociological: ‚logic of social appropriateness‘ (Campbell 1989) Rational choice: actors behave in a strategic manner that presumes calculation institutions form the expectations one actor has about the (actual and future) behaviour of others and thereby influence his behaviour institutions enable political decisions by not allowing each imaginable desicion (through incentives and constraints)...

6 Rational choice -Institutionalism... continued: institutions perform certain functions and provide benefits for each actor existence of institution is explained by reference to the value its functions have for actors (the benefits they gain from the existence of the institution) actors create institutions in order to realize this value / benefits institutions are choosen because of their functional consequences for those who create or chose them

7 Institutional engineering institutions matter as they generate incentives shaping the rational goal-seeking behaviour of politicians, parties and citizens perform certain functions with predictable consequences if all actors behave rationally the actual design of institutions then matters as well and is prone to institutional engineering by parliaments etc.

8 Institutional engineering Scholars interested in institutional engineering debate the pros and cons of various institutional designs in and for consolidating democracies 2 existantial choices have been focused upon: electoral engineering: PR vs. Majoritarian constitutional engineering: Presidental vs. Parliamentary

9 Formal electoral rules generate incentives Rational Motivations: Political actors respond to incentives According to electoral threshold, parties adopt bridging or bonding strategies According to ballot structure, politicians emphasize programmatic or particularistic benefits According to ballot structure, parties adopt socially diverse or homogeneous candidates Citizens respond rationally Conclusion: Reforming the formal rules has the capacity to alter political behaviour at mass and elite level Direct effects of rules Indirect effects of rules Source: Norris 2004 Electoral engineering

10 Formal electoral rules generate incentives Rational Motivations: Political actors respond to incentives According to electoral threshold, parties adopt bridging or bonding strategies According to ballot structure, politicians emphasize programmatic or particularistic benefits According to ballot structure, parties adopt socially diverse or homogeneous candidates Citizens respond rationally Conclusion: Reforming the formal rules has the capacity to alter political behaviour at mass and elite level Direct effects of rules Indirect effects of rules Source: Norris 2004 Electoral engineering

11 Electoral engineering field test Founding elections Adoption of electoral system depending on the perceived balance of power between former communist elites and opposition PR chosen by opposition Majority by former communist elites Mixed system as result of bargaining party elites choose systems to maximize their seats (though intended and actual result might defer) Source: Dawisha 2006

12 Electoral engineering field test 2nd round of elections based on the results of first round elections amendments to electoral rules were made increase legitimacy and stability by increasing proportionality lower thresholds reduce fragmentation of party system and promote governance higher thresholds parties act more strategically: balanced seat maximizing with stable governance Source: Dawisha 2006

13 Electoral engineering field test Voters reacted rationally to the incentives only after the second round needed to learn and abide by the new rules of the game 3rd round voters voted act strategically to avoid wasted votes Institutions become constraining and political actors have learned the rules of the game Source: Dawisha 2006

14 Constitutional engineering early constitutional engineering scholars had solely concentrated on the question which governmental system / design is most adequate for consolidating democracies performances concerning the stability of the regime, inclusion, efficiency and accountability of governmental systems were compared (Semi-) Presidentialism vs. Parliamentarism

15 Constitutional engineering field test „Scholarly writing about institutional engineering since communism’s demise has typically emphasized optimal design rather than optimal process.“ (Stanger 2004) in constitutional making „the process is at least as important as the product“ (Elgie / Zielonka 2001) Constitutional engineering technically recommends a certain product that best fits the context and the problems, but whether this product is chosen depends on the interests of institutional architects

16 Constitutional engineering field test Elster (1997) has analysed different causal forces in CEE constitution-making processes individual, group and institutional interests (more or less) shape the constitution external influences: foreign experts and existing constitutions as models influence of pre-communist and communist constitutions (life after death) process as a mix of bargaining (self-interest) and arguing (common interest) constitutional engineering relies on rational, problemoriented arguing

17 institutional engineering was developed for the transition from democracy to democracy at a time when a consolidated democracy was in crisis (v. Beyme 2001) as democratic consolidation evolves, the capability to ‚argue‘ rather than ‚bargain‘ increases and possibilities for fine tuning arise (Tiemann 2006) major institutional changes seem to be less common but especially electoral engineering offers a panoply of finetuning options A concept applicable in the post-transformation period?

18 concept applied trying : to manage, solve or prevent ethnic conflicts federalism vs. centralism electoral system design government systems / decision-making mechanisms to rebuild political orders: constitutional engineering in post-conflict situations Afghanistan, Iraq Journal of Democracy 16 (2005) 1 International Journal on Multicultural Societies 8 (2006) 2 A concept applicable in the post-transformation period?

19 Conclusion 1.The rational choice neo-institutional approach provides a conceptual ground for institutional engineers and allows for concrete reform recommendations for different outcomes and contexts. 2.Institutional engineering, however, presupposes a thorough problem and (social and political) context analysis and the subsequent informed decision and implementation of the appropriate institution. 3.Institutions, however, are products of complex political bargaining and contexts and therefore tend to be hybrids rather vaguely resembling the initial or intended (imported) institutional designs

20 References Benoit, Kenneth: Models of Electoral System Change, Electoral Studies 23 (2004), pp. 363 – 389. Benoit, Kenneth / Hayden, Jacqueline: Institutional Change and Persistence: The Evolution of Poland‘s Electoral System, 1989 – 2001, Journal of Politics 66 (2004) 2, pp. 396 – 427. Birch, Sarah / Millard, Frances / Popescu, Marina / Williams, Kieran: Embodying Democracy. Electoral System Design in Post-Communist Europe. Houndmills Bos, Ellen: Verfassungsgebung und Systemwechsel. Die Institutionalisierung von Demokratien im postsozialistischen Osteuropa. Wiesbaden Dawisha, Karen / Deets, Stephen: Political Learning in Post-Communist Elections, East European Politics and Society 20 (2006) 4, pp. 691 – 728. Elster, Jon: Constitution-Making in Central and Eastern Europe: Rebuilding the Boat at Open Sea, Public Administration 71 (1993) 1 / 2, pp. 169 – 217. Hall, Peter A. / Taylor, Rosemary C. R.: Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms, Political Studies XLIV (1996), pp. 936 – 957. Hoffman, Amanda L.: Political parties, Electoral Systems and Democracy: A Cross-national Analysis, European Journal of Political Research 44 (2005), pp. 231 – 242. Electoral System Design. The New International IDEA Handbook Available online Norris, Pippa: Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior. Cambridge Pierson, Paul: The Limits of Design: Explaining Institutional Origins and Change, Governance: An International Journal of Policy and Administration 13 (2000) 4, pp. 475 – 496. Sartori, Giovanni: Comparative Constitutional Engineering. An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives and Outcomes. Houndsmills Stanger, Allison: How Important are New Constitutions for Democratic Consolidation? Lessons From the Post- communist States, Democratization 11 (2004) 3, pp. 1 – 26. Tiemann, Guido: Das Endogenitätsproblem politischer Institutionen und die Optionen von „Electoral“ und „Constitutional Engineering“. In: Gert Pickel / Susanne Pickel (eds.): Demokratisierung im Internationalen Vergleich. Neue Erkenntnisse und Perspektiven. Wiesbaden pp. 211 – 236. Zielonka, Jan: Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe. Volume I Institutional Engineering. Oxford 2001.

21 Thank you for your kind attention!


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