Comparative Politics II. Classifying governments Luca Verzichelli / Filippo Tronconi Comparative Politics Academic year 2014-2015 Classifying governments: an old puzzle (too) many applications. For instance • Democratic vs non democratic regimes • Monocratic vs. collegial governments • Nature of head of state in different democracies Three main branches of comparative government (Schmitter) 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) countries; 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 institutions • 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? NO PRESIDENTIAL democracy YES 2. Is the president elected autonomously from the rest of the Executive? YES 2. Is the cabinet responsible to the President? YES MIXED democracy NO PARLIAMENTARY democracy NO PARLIAMENTARY democracy Increasing importance of mixed democracy (Cheibub 2007) • New mixed democracies (semipresidential systems) in CentralEastern Europe, and Africa • Classic presidentialisms above all in LatinAmerica 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-presidentialism P. Schleiter & E. Morgan-Jones: Review Article. Citizens, Presidents and Assemblies:The 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 principal–agent theoretical work of democratic constitutions.