Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 2006
Comparative Democratic Institutions and Constitutional Engineering
Lecturer: Professor John Huber,
Department of Political Science, Columbia University, USA
Main discipline: Political Science
Dates: 24 - 28 July 2006
Course Credits: 10 pts (ECTS)
Limitation: 30 participants
A vast number of important political debates around the world today concern the nature of formal institutional arrangements that governments should use to make policy decisions. The most visible recent examples are efforts to draft new constitutions for Iraq and the European Union, but debates about institutional reform are ongoing at all levels of government, from the municipal to the supranational, and in all types of countries, from fledging democracies to the most mature ones. It is no mystery why debates over the details of democratic institutional arrangements are pervasive, on going, and intense. Even small changes in policymaking rules can have a large impact on who wins and who loses substantive policy battles, as well as on the effectiveness of democratic governance.
This course focuses on the comparative study of democratic political processes, and in particular to the role that formal institutional arrangements play in shaping strategic political behavior. The course examines the major themes in the comparative institutions literature, such as the impact of electoral laws on party systems, presidential versus parliamentary government, majoritarian and representational approaches in parliamentary systems, federalism, the design of judicial systems, etc. It also examines how the nature of democratic institutions influences various types of outcomes, including political stability, political accountability, and economic policy.
The goal is not to advocate for particular types of institutional arrangements base. Instead, a core theme of the course is that the choice among any set of institutional arrangements involve normative tradeoffs. Understanding how to conceptualize these tradeoffs systematically, and how to assess them empirically, will be a core objective of the course.
Books needed for the course:
- Participants is strongly encouraged to obtain and read these books in advance of the lectures.
- John Huber and Charles Shipan, Deliberate Discretion? The institutional foundations of bureaucratic autonomy, Cambridge University Press 2002
- Gary Cox, Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World’s Electoral Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 1997
- Adam Przeworski. et al, Democracy and development : political institutions and material well-being in the world,1950-1990 (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000)
- Lijphart, Arend, Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999),
- Shugart, Matthew Soberg and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies. Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995),
Lecture 1: : Conceptual foundations of democratic systems.
What is democracy and how do you know whether a country is one? What are central problems with representative democracy and majority rule?
- Joseph Schumpeter, “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” from The Democracy Sourcebook, edited by Dahl, Shapiro and Cheibub, pages 5-11
- Robert Dahl, “Polyarchal Democracy,” from The Democracy Sourcebook, edited by Dahl, Shapiro and Cheibub, pages 48-54.
- Przeworski, Adam, Michael E. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Chiebub, and Fernando Limongi. 2000. Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Material Well-being in the World, 1950-1990. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Chapter 1)
- Riker, “Implications from the disequilibrium of majority rule for the study of institutions.” American Political Science Review, Vol. 74, No. 2. (Jun., 1980), pp. 432-446.
- Bender, Glazer and Hammond, "Theories of Delegation," Annual Review of Political Science 2001, Vol. 4 Issue 1, p. 235
- Larry Diamond, “Defining and Developing Democracy” from The Democracy Sourcebook, edited by Dahl, Shapiro and Cheibub, pages 29-39
- Collier, David, and Robert Adcock. "Democracy and Dichotomies: A Pragmatic Approach to Choices about Concepts." Annual Review of Political Science. 2:537-565.
- Elkins, Zachary. 2000. "Gradations of Democracy: Empirical Tests of Alternative Conceptualizations." American Journal of Political Science. 44(2):293-301.
- Bollen, Kenneth A. and Robert Jackman. 1989. “Democracy, Stability, and Dichotomies.” American Sociological Review. 54: 612-621.
Lecture 2: Constellations of political institutions and democratic systems
What are the relevant distinctions between different types of political regimes? The lecture and readings will explore central arguments in the literature about how to think about how institutional arrangements “fit together.” Do particular types of electoral laws imply particular forms of legislative organization? Do electoral laws that lead to fractionalized party systems have the same effect on policymaking as separation of powers? What configurations of institutions create more or less “moral hazard” on the part of politicians?
- Shugart, Matthew Soberg and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies. Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chapters 1-4.
- Lijphart, Arend, Patterns of Democracy. Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1999), chapters 1-4.
- Tsebelis, George. "Decision making in political systems: veto players in presidentialism, parliamentarism, multicameralism and multipartyism." British Journal of Political Science 25:289-325.
- Powell, G. Bingham, Jr. “Constitutional Design and Citizen Electoral Control” Journal of Theoretical Politics (1989) 1(2):107-130
Lecture 3: Parties and Party systems
What are the relevant differences in party systems and what creates them? Electoral laws are the core of any democratic political systems. What are the relevant institutional elements of electoral laws, how do they work, and what are the consequences of choosing one type of electoral law over another.
- Gary Cox, Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World’s Electoral Systems (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 1997, chapters 1-5, 10.
- Shugart and Carey, Presidents and Assemblies. Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chapters 9-11.
- Lijphart, chapter 5
- John H. Aldrich. 1995. Why Parties? Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Chapter 1.
- Seymour Lipset and Stein Rokkan, “Cleavage Structures, Party Systems, and Voter Alignments: An Introduction,” pp. 1-64 in Lipset and Rokkan (eds.), Party Systems and Voter Alignments: Cross-National Perspectives,(1967).
- Ordeshook and Shvetsova, "Ethnic Heterogeneity, District Magnitude, and the Number of Parties" AJPS Vol. 38, No. 1. (Feb., 1994), pp. 100-123.
- Huber, Kernell and Leoni, “Institutional Context, Cognitive Resources and Party Attachments Across Democracies” Political Analysis (2005) 13: 365-386.
Lecture 4: Executive-legislative relations
What are the relevant differences in the separation (or not) of legislative and executive powers, and how do these differences influence policy bargaining? We will examine differences in how executive power is organized in parliamentary, presidential, and semi-presidential systems, and differences in organization affect policymaking processes.
- Lijphart chapters 6-7
- Huber, John "The Vote of Confidence in Parliamentary Democracies," APSR, 1996
- Tsebelis, G "Veto players and law production in parliamentary democracies: An empirical analysis," APSR 1999 v.93(3)
- Laver and Shepsle , "Coalitions and Cabinet Government " The American Political Science Review, Vol. 84, No. 3. (Sep., 1990), pp. 873-890.
- Mainwaring from Democracy Reader
- Linz from Democracy Reader
Lecture 5: Federalism and decentralization
What are the different ways to institutionalize decentralization and how do they matter? n particular, how do choices regarding political and economic decentralization affect fiscal policy, on one hand, and political stability, on the other.
- Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy, ch. 10
- Jonathan Rodden, “The Political Economy of Federalism”, forthcoming, Handbook of Political Economy
- Hale, Henry, “Divided We Stand: Ethnofederalism as Problem and Solution in Divided Societies,” World Politics, January 2004
- Weingast, Barry R. "The Economic Role of Political Institutions: Market-Preserving Federalism and Economic Development," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 11(1):1-31.
- Oates, "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, 37(3), p. 1120 (1999)
- Rodden, "The dilemma of fiscal federalism: Grants and fiscal performance around the world," American Journal Of Political Science 46 (3): 670-687 Jul 2002
- Rodden, "Strength in Numbers? Representation and Redistribution in the European Union." European Union Politics 3.2 (2002): 151-175.
- Treisman, Decentralization and Inflation, APSR 2000
Lecture 6: Delegation to bureaucracies and judges
How do institutional arrangements influence the degree to which politicians delegate policymaking authority to bureaucrats and judges, and how does this matter? The lectures will focus on developing a comparative theory of delegation, in which delegation incentives are a function of the broader institutional context in which politicians find themselves. This will allow us to consider the circumstances under which the practical need to delegate diminishes democratic accountability.
- Huber and Shipan, Deliberate Discretion, chapters 1-4 &7
- Shipan, “Regulatory Regimes, Agency Actions, and the Conditional Nature of Congressional Influence” (2004) APSR 98(3): 467-80
- Canes-Wrone, "Bureaucratic Decisions and the Composition of the Lower Courts, AJPS 47(2):205-14
- LaPorta et al, "Judicial Checks and Balances" Journal of Political Economy (2004)
- Epstein and O’Halloran, "Administrative Procedures, Information, and Agency Discretion" American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 38, No. 3. (Aug., 1994), pp. 697-722.
- Franchino, Delegating Powers in the European Community, BJPS. 34, 269–293
- Huber JD, “Delegation to civil servants in parliamentary democracies,” European Journal of Political Research, 37 (3): 397-413 MAY 2000
Lecture 7: Democratic institutions and political representation
What is political representation and what influences its quality? How do features of the democratic policy affect the extent to which different groups in society are represented, both substantively and procedurally?
- Manin, Przeworski and Stokes, "Elections and Representation," in Democracy, accountability, and representation, edited by Adam Przeworski, Susan C. Stokes, Bernard Manin (New York ; Cambridge :Cambridge University Press, 1999).
- Huber and Powell, “Congruence Between Citizens and Policymakers in Two Visions of Liberal Democracy.” World Politics, Vol. 46, No. 3 (Apr., 1994), pp. 291-326
- Powell and Whitten, "A Cross-National Analysis of Economic Voting: Taking Account of the Political Context" American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 37, No. 2 (May, 1993), pp. 391-414
- Anderson and Guillory, "Political institutions and satisfaction with democracy: A cross-national analysis of consensus and majoritarian systems", American Political Science Review, 91 (1): 66-81 MAR 1997
- Susan Stokes,"What do Policy Switches Tell us about Democracy" chapter 3 in Democracy, accountability, and representation, edited by Adam Przeworski, Susan C. Stokes, Bernard Manin (New York; Cambridge :Cambridge University Press, 1999).
- Powell, GB; Vanberg, GS, “Election laws, disproportionality and median correspondence: Implications for two visions of democracy,” British Journal of Political Science, Volume 30, Issue 03, July 2000.
- James A. Stimson; Michael B. Mackuen; Robert S. Erikson “Dynamic Representation,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 89, No. 3. (Sep., 1995), pp. 543-565.
- Bruce E. Cain; John A. Ferejohn; Morris P. Fiorina, “The Constituency Service Basis of the Personal Vote for U.S. Representatives and British Members of Parliament” American Political Science Review, Vol. 78, No. 1. (Mar., 1984), pp. 110-125.
Lecture 8: Democratic institutions and political stability
How does regime type influence democratic stability? In addressing this question, we will consider regime stability itself, as well cabinet instability in as other forms of instability, such as mass protests and political violence.
- Seymour Martin Lipset. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy” in The American Political Science Review, Vol. 53, No. 1.(Mar., 1959), pp. 69-105.
- Adam Przeworski. et al, Democracy and development : political institutions and material well-being in the world,1950-1990 (Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 2000): chapter 2.
- Boix, Carles, Stokes, Susan Carol. “Endogenous Democratization,” World Politics, Volume 55, Number 4, July 2003.
- Epstein et al. “Democratic Transitions” forthcoming in AJPS
- Laver, Michael. “Government Termination” Annual Review of Political Science (2003) 6:23-40
- Stepan, Alfred, & Skach, Cindy. (1993). "Constitutional frameworks and democratic consolidation: Parliamentarism versus presidentialism". World Politics, 46, 1-22.
- Stephan Haggard; Robert R. Kaufman, “The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions” Comparative Politics, Vol. 29, No. 3, (Apr., 1997), pp. 263-283.
- Huber and Martinez-Gallardo, “Cabinet Instability and the Accumulation of Experience: The French Fourth and Fifth Republics in Comparative Perspective.” BJPS (2004) 34(1): 27-48.
- Yi Feng and Paul Zak, 2003, "Determinants of Democratic Transitions," Journal of Conflict Resolution 42(2):162-77 (1999)
Lecture 9: Democratic institutions, redistribution and the welfare state
How do institutions influence incentives for redistribution? To address this question, we will consider standard models from the political economy literature, as well as recent empirical studies of the size of the welfare state, and other forms of redistribution.
- Milesi-Ferreti, Perotti and Rostagno, “Electoral Systems and Public Spending” QJE 2002
- Persson and Tabellilni, “Constitutional Rules and Fiscal Policy Outcome" AER 2004
- Evelyn Huber, Charles Ragin, and John Stephens, “Social Democracy, Christian Democracy, Constitutional Structure, and the Welfare State,” American Journal of Sociology, 99, No. 3, 1993, pp. 711-49.
- Alexander M. Hicks; Duane H. Swank “Politics, Institutions, and Welfare Spending in Industrialized Democracies, 1960-82,” American Political Science Review, Vol. 86, No. 3. (Sep., 1992), pp. 658-674.
- David Cameron, “The Expansion of the Public Economy: A Comparative Analysis,” American Political Science Review, 72 (December 1978), pp. 1243-1261.
- Mares "Wage bargaining in the presence of social services and transfers".World Politics 57 (October 2004), 99–142
- Torben Iversen, "The Dynamics of Welfare State Expansion." In The New Politics of the Welfare State, Paul Pierson, editor (OUP,2001)
- Boix C, “Democracy, development, and the public sector,” American Journal of Political Science 45 (1): 1-17 Jan 2001
- Blais A, Blake D, Dion S, “Do Parties Make A Difference - Parties And The Size Of Government In Liberal Democracies,” American Journal of Political Science 37 (1): 40-62 Feb 1993
- Meltzer, Allan and Scott Richard, “A Rational Theory of the Size of Government,” Journal of Political Economy, 1981.
Lecture 10: Democratic institutions and economic development
How do institutional factors influence economic growth? We will address this question by looking at core reading the focus primarily on institutions that influence the stability of property rights, and on institutions that influence bureaucratic capacity.
Core readings :
- Daron Acemoglu, Simon Johnson, James A Robinson. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review. Nashville: Dec 2001. Vol. 91, Iss. 5.
- Peter Evans; James E. Rauch. “Bureaucracy and Growth: A Cross-National Analysis of the Effects of "Weberian" State Structures on Economic Growth,” American Sociological Review, Vol. 64, No. 5. (Oct., 1999), pp. 748-765.
- Glaser, la Porta, Lopez and Shleifer, “Do Institutions Cause Growth?” Journal of Economic Growth 9:271-303.
- Roderik et al. “Instititutions Rule; The Primacy of institutions over Geography and Integration in economic Development” Journal of Economic Growth 9:131-65 (2004)
- Przeworski, Adam “The Last Instance: Are Institutions a Deeper Cause of Economic Development?” forthcoming European Archives of Sociology
- Przeworski et all chapter 3
John Huber is author of Rationalizing Parliament: Legislative Institutions and Party Politics in France, and (with Charles Shipan) Deliberate Discretion: Institutional Foundations of Bureaucratic Autonomy (which in 2003 was awarded the William Riker Prize, the Richard Fenno Prize, and the Gregory Luebbert Prize). He has also published numerous articles on comparative democratic processes in journals such as American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, World Politics, Journal of Politics, and European Journal of Political Research. His current research projects focus on turnover by ministers in parliamentary cabinets, on one hand, and on how religion influences democratic representation, on the other.
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