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Politics: Comparative Government EXECUTIVES Literature Notes and Tutorial Summaries Literature
1. Forms of executives
2. Effects of executive format a. Policy - quantity and nature b. Democratic survival
3. Non-institutional factors - leadership quality, government's popularity, relations with executive, policy output. How institutional and non-institutional factors interact?
Methodological points Comparative analysis of PMs and cabinets: tricky. 2 fruitful lines of analysis:
1. Rational choice institutionalism
2. Core executive models Helms (2005): a historical and comparative perspective is the best way to study core executives Bargaining; relationship with parties. Jones, G.W., (Apr 1991)
- Resources can also be constraints - depends who has them
- France: president and PM each possess resources vital to other - president has 'enormous political resources as party and majority coalition leader' whilst PM has administrative and institutional resources.
- Impossible to measure by weighing different amounts of resources.
- Political resources are most important, and most important political resource is party Helms, L., (2005)
- Policy leadership: contents of public policy. Agenda control!!!
- Political leadership: mobilizing a sufficient amount of political support. Informal power determined by persuasion and bargaining
- 'interactionist' approach: attempt to account for both personal and systemic variables that have an impact on the overall character of executive leadership, stresses the dynamic character of the relationship between the two variables Prime ministers and political executive
- Even with no formal constraints: constrained by party
- Power dependent on party composition of cabinet. If many parties - need conciliatory/balancing approach rather than policy lead.
- Ambiguity in relationship between PM, cabinet and ministers - what looks like a constraint can be a resource for PM. Depends on political circumstances of the moment, issues and personalities involved, and relationships between/within parties. Presidential powers in WE Direct election:
- Weak/no veto: Austria, France Finland, Ireland
- Medium veto: Portugal Indirect election: Germany, Greece, Italy Presidential powers in ECE: Direct election
- Weak veto: Slovenia/Romania
- Medium veto: Slovakia, Lithuania, Bulgaria
- Strong veto: Poland
- Weak veto: Hungary, Estonia, Latvia
- Medium veto: Czech Republic Direct elections and activism
- TAVITS (2009): do direct presidential elections matter?
o 24 countries incl. ECE (small n)
- Are directly elected presidents more activist?
o Mode of election does not matter o Presidents become more activist under
? Divided government
? Minroity governments
? More fragmented cabinets o Are direct elections more confrontational?
? Both direct and indirect elections can become divisive o Do they lead to higher satisfaction with democracy
? No evidence
? Direct elections lead to lower turnout in legislative elections Impact on cabinet formation
- Democratic representation o Parliamentarism: single chain of delegation from voters through parties to government o Presidentialism: two chains of delegation from voters to
? President o Effects for government formation
? Semi-presidentialism decreases extent of control parties have on cabinet appointments
? Higher shares of non-partisan ministers in cabinet under semipresidentilaism o Problem: salience not clear. Correlation/causation?
Impact on democratisation
- Beliaev (2006): coparison of 22 post-communist states
- Presidential powers divided into o Chief executive powers (cabinet formation, veto) o Arbeiter powers (judicial appointments, parliament dissolution)
- Negative impact of presidentialism o Presidents with strong executive and arbiter powers have unfavourable impact o High executive powers particularly related to deficiencies in democratisation o But increasing arbiter powers can have positive impact if presidents have minimal executive powers
- Ie need to break it down.
- But, further east = less good democracy anyway. Nature of culture/society not rules? RCT vs socio-historical explanation.
1.EXECUTIVE FORMAT Categories not entirely satisfactory - over inclusiveness of semi-presidential category. Balanced - France. Mainly towards PM - eg. Poland. Ceremonial - Iceland, Ireland, Portugal (previously stronger). Use sub categories. Some critiques of semi-presidentialism also apply to semi-presidentialism.
Immense variety within them. Even within presidential model. 1 eg of democratic presidentialism in Europe - Cyprus. Tend to be concentrated in Americas. Linz, Stepan, Skach etc - v. critical of way presidential systems operate in LatAm. Seen as being inflexible in times of crises - inability to remove president. Fixed term doesn't allow removal of unpopular executive in any orthodox way. If want to get rid of executive need to have a coup. No real mechanism for resolving constitutional deadlock. Choice between gridlock or breakdown. System is winner takes all - removes incentive to cooperate on part of legislature and executive. Not all analysts same view. Shugard & Carey, Mainwaring - emphasized variety of presidential systems and pointed to fact that stability depends on extent to which party system can be flexible and work with president in legislature. Isolation from party majority in legislature may make president more vulnerable. How presidential regime works in practice depends also on party system and electoral system. Recent democratisations have thrown up resilient regimes - Argentina, Brazil, Chile. Seen legislature delegate some important tools (particularly budgetary matters) to executive. Got round weaknesses in American system at them moment where financial power lodged in legislature. First weakness:
1. Temporal rigidity - inability to remove executive and likelihood of gridlock. US two spectacular periods 95-96 and recently second half of Obama's first term where America almost went into default over debt ceiling. In earlier period government shut down twice.
2. Winner takes all - whereas parl system collective and collegial in formation of executive (cabinet system which involves members of opposition; coalition etc). Couple of dual presidencies but very rare. If opposition feels it's excluded (eg republicans out of power) can be problematic - eg ethnicities. President may not be speaking for minority which is marginalized (democratic theory argument). No incentive for executive to build consensus. If president alienated from party or doesn't have consensus may be tempted to govern without support of legislature - prerogative powers in presidencies, decrees in Latin America, executive orders/signing statements in America - various devices which allow president to struggle through and govern without legislative support.
3. Presidents may attack legislature with publicity. 'Going publicly' - use media to try to build and enhance own appeal and legitimize relationship with public.
4. Dual legitimacy/clash. Can also have important effect on handling of internal politics of executive branch. Where legislature is responsible for funding/authorization of programmes, may have divided house in terms of orientation and loyalties of those who are members of exec branch - cabinet secretaries etc. If need to look for legislature for funding/authorization, the naturally fissiparous relationship will be enhanced.
5. In dual system: can get election fatigue. Routine multiplication of elections leads to apathy/disillusion. Can lead to unrepresentative electoral outcomes. Mid term elections in US frequently combine lower turnout with intense partisanship and opposition to president in toxic mix. In mid term elections frequently find unstable outcome because of winning of legislature by unrepresentative majority in terms of turnout. Low turnout tends to produce swing to opposition. Impedes operation.
6. Depend heavily on personal loyalty rather than institutional - organisation and policy/advice structures. Tendency to try to get permanence of government through politicization. Having effect on large number of governments (parliament and presidential). The more you politicize the govt structure (eg putting career bureaucrats who aren't bureaucrats), more run risk of reducing moral of bureaucracy and reducing neutral competence. Enduring issue: control of bureaucracy without undermining it because you put in political appointees.
7. Instruments of coordination tend to be less institutionalised. Presidents tend to develop set of priorities which are much less than total span of government responsibilities. Some subject matter gets sidelined. Number of priorities that president can take on board get more and more restricted. Perhaps inevitable, but given cabinet secretaries and ministers tend to go their own way (responsive to departmental pressure groups that surround them), see tendency for the means of coordination and control even at highest political levels to dissipate/diffuse.
8. Competing legitimacy: lower accountability. Hood: 'the blame game'. Government is often about shifting blame onto some other institution. In presidential system the dual competents - legitimacy and responsibilities of executive/legislature. Lower accountability - going to electorate to seek reelection. Tendency to shift blame occurs much more in a presidential system.
9. Semi-presidentialism: some weakness occur there too. Gaffney (poor leadership and bad governance) noted tendency of French system to produce irratic personal systems as result of openness of decisionmaking process to presidential intervention. Sri Lanka - good example of tension for control of policy/media/blurred accountability in semi-presidential system. Elgie and Schleiter's large n study of impact of constitutional variation within semipresidential regimes on democratic survival: finds that controlling for other factors such as economy/social fragmentation, president-parliamentary systems have significant negative impact on democratic survival, entailing more than fivefold increase in risk of democratic collapse. NB contrary to usual wisdom, cohabitation does not appear to have an independent effect, once the president's constitutional provision is taken into account. Causal mech: incentives for power-sharing undermined once the president's and parliament's ability to dismiss the government at will is taken into account. Advantage:
1. President above party politics?
2. Clarity and decisiveness - eg responding to terrorism
3. Process of decision-making quicker - cabinet/councils can be constructed for president's convenience and adapted to meet his/her style. No need to use inherited structure like cabinet in PM system.
4. Stability - president not removed from office. Government carries on for most part unless there's a coup/impeachment.
5. In certain circumstances can provide value point for nation and overcome fragmented society.s Parliamentary executives:
- Again, operation crucially dependent on party system
- 2 types broadly: o 1. Westminster parties - small number of single party government combined with adversarial politics, clear lines of accountability and o 2. Proportional electoral systems and multiplicity of parties in parliament - eg Holland, Benelux, Scandinavia - get degree of instability depend on variations in coalition politics. o Intermediate examples - Germany relatively stable. Advantages:
2. Inclusiveness: can bring in minority cabinets if wish to, eg war time situations. Can respond quickly if think need new mandate or if authority of government diminishing. Ability to dissolve parliament seen as key feature.
3. Quality - tend to be underpinned by more stable bureaucratic systems. Less likely to be reorganized to suit decisiomaking style of president.
4. Accountability (although coalition system less so) - for most part government clearly responsible for policy making. Disadvantages:
1. 'Elective dictatorship' - lack of checks and balances, concentration of power
2. Few restraints on dominant party or party coalition so long as remains united. Subject only to check of electorate.
3. Instability - particularly if multiparty system. French 4th republic - good example of irresponsibility. Parties not supporting government voted into office; high turnover of government; some parties not participating in parliamentary process. Balance: in favour of parliamentary systems best able to reconcile government and democracy. Semi-presidential systems
- France seems to provide reasonable balance between participation and stability.
- Semi-pres systems: if strong presidential, then the way they operate is obscure. Built into executive fair degree of conflict/overlap. How power relationships work out at any given time difficult to observe/chart. Very fluid systems. Tend to fluctuate with contingencies of legislative elections and crises facing the government.
- French 5th republic: switch to 5 year from 7 year presidency in 2002 has changed dynamic. Made more orthodox. NB implications of presidentialisation for understanding of categories.
*Schleiter and Morgan-Jones (2009) 'The study of semi-presidentialism beyond Duverger and Linz' Number increased dramatically. By 2002 were 22% of all democracies worldwide. Does the behavioural and institutional variation undermine analytic value of classification?
Effects of popular elected president?
Does it make a difference to outcomes?
Conceptual tools becoming available through PA framework.
- Provides theory of differences
- Conceptual tools to analyse advantages and drawbacks of delegation regimes
- Speaks to debate about effects of semi-pres Tsebelis' approach on policy change: elegant but narrow. Duverger's behavioural and institutional definition:
1.Directly elected president
2.Possesses 'quite considerable power'
3.PM and ministers s.t parliamentary confidence Elgie: strictly institutional definition. But, heterogeneous. Siaroff (2003): no such thing as semi-pres system. PA theory Vary along 2 regime defining dimensions:
1. In ideal type form, semi-pres, parl and presidentialism vary in number of agents. One agent (parl regimes) vs two (president and assembly).
2. Vary in authority they grant elected politicians. Either government subordinated to one agent (president/legislature) or to two (semi-pres). Captured by Elgie's institutional definition: a popularly elected, fixed president exists alongside a PM and cabinet who are responsible to parliament. Govt formation:
- Vary from granting president veto power (eg Bulgaria) via presidential initiative in naming premier (Poland, Slovenia) to power to name a premier without
investiture (France, Austria). Dismissal:
- Undissolvable assembly (Romania, Slovenia) to dissolvable assembly (France, Portugal) to equal powers (Austria). Most regimes: assembly dominant/co-equal player in controlling govt, only minority tip balance in favour of president. Variation not regime defining but affects probability of president and assembly achieving preferred outcomes/sq. Agenda power: primarily in executive, but divided in different ways between president and government. Block veto (eg.Poland) to initiative and decree power (Russia). France: dominant agenda powers to government. Controls legislative agenda - ordinances, package veto, guillotine. Means president and assembly have only indirect legislative agenda control and main area of negotiation is government composition. Legislative gridlock unlikely. Diverse behaviour - eg. De Gaulle to Klestil (Austria) So is constitutional format good predictor of performance?
PA framework: yes. Formal structure shapes de facto power. Both assembly and president are agents to influence government and policy.
1. Assembly/president can act as primary principal of govt at different points in time in same regime. Finland: Kekonnen's non-partisan cabinets. At other times, partisan cabinets. Occurs despite varying levels of pres constitutional power.
2. Cohabitation. Eg Chirac/Jospin (1997-2002).
=>important consequentially and cannot occur in other regimes. Impact on democratic stability Linz: potential for gridlock and breakdown. Dual executive. Others: enables rapid transition from dictatorship to democracy; shared power. PA perspective reconciles. Semi-pres: two agents of electorate. Potentially flexible control of govt combined with checks and balances. Drawback: coordination/conflict. Empirical work: semi-pres regimes reduce the risk of conflict and regime collapse. Available supportive evidence: as supportive of democratic survival as parliamentarism. Performance Representation:
- Linz: widen representation gap; reduce willingness of agents to represent broad range of views. Winner-takes-all and election: false sense of mandate. Fixed term.
- PA perspective: dual legitimation gives presidents role in representing views
- Empirics: Strom et al (2003): less policy congruence in semi-pres systems. Accountability:
- Dual executive: hides president from trouble. Less accountability.
- Samuels and Shugart: separate mandate gives president greater leeway to be above party.
- Evidence: voters more able to assign policy responsibility in semi-pres system Government composition and cabinet durability
- Enhanced flexibility? Cabinet can draw support from either principal.
- More prominent view: conflicts and crises. Nonpartisan ministers.
- Shugart and Carey (2002): more powerful presidents have greater influence on formation.
- Neto and Strom: presidents have weaker preference for partisan ministers; required to build national electoral coalitions. Creates more channels for diverse
citizen input into cabinets. Schleiter and Morgan-Jones: how important non-partisan appointees are. Differences carry into top posts incl.premiership. Coalition formation: Cheibub finds no evidence that presidents complicate coalition formation. Durations: more short lived. Dependent on two principals. 2.9 years compared to 4 years for parl and 4.7 years for pres. Survival baffling from Linzian perspective. Need PA theory to explain. Findings: misleading to characterize effects as unequivocally negative.
Policy and legislative process
- PA theory: effectiveness of delegation dependent on constitution's allocation of responsibility to propose, amend, veto and enact legislation. Shape motivations and influence incentives.
- Flexibility vs gridlock.
- Tsebelis: popularly elected presidents bring element of separation of powers and purpose. Increase number and policy distance between veto players. Should decrease ability to achieve policy change.
- Veto and agenda powers: effects on legislative success and policy coherence.
- Nature of policies provided - public/private good balance. Eludes veto players approach
- Conflict? Protsyk: intra-executive conflict in Central and EE semi-pres regimes since 1990s. More likely with presidential veto powers, cohabitation and minority status of cabinet.
- Case study and comparative work: Location of agenda control powers affects coordination of policy process and legislative success of govermments. Agenda powers in govt: coordinated. Agenda powers for president: complicates policy change and policy coherence. Consistent with veto players approach. Uncoordinated and competing policy intiatives from pres, PM and assembly, eg. Ukraine.
- But, performance also function of substance not just process/ease of policy change.
- Overall: presidents play central role in securing policies that provide public goods, but also generate coordination problems. Summary
- Gridlock not generally feature. Concentration of legislative power in government facilitates smooth passage of legislation.
- Number of institutional veto players affects ability of regime to achieve policy change, but importance of presidents also in their democratic role as representing voters in single national constituency. Crucial to account for motivations and political aims of presidents. Privilege accountability over mandate representation; motivate presidents to make choices of govt composition that weaken party-govt relationship; encourage focus on public good provision.
- Relationship between voters and elected politicians crucial.
CLASSIFYING PARL, PRESIDENTIAL AND MIXED DEMOCRACY (BASED ON CHEIBUB 2007)
? Relationship between government, legislature and president (if there is one).
? Which actors can remove the govt from office. President - legislature can't remove. Parliament - legislature can remove.
? 3 qus: o Is the govt responsible to the elected legislatures?
? Vote of no confidence/constructive no confidence (Germany, Israel, Spain)
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