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Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions download ebook

by G. Powell Jr.

Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions download ebook
ISBN:
0300080158
ISBN13:
978-0300080155
Author:
G. Powell Jr.
Publisher:
Yale University Press (July 11, 2000)
Language:
Pages:
312 pages
ePUB:
1283 kb
Fb2:
1949 kb
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Category:
Politics & Government
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Rating:
4.3

In this book, a leading scholar of comparative politics explores elections as. .2 Constitutional Designs as Visions of Majoritarian or Proportional Democracy.

In this book, a leading scholar of comparative politics explores elections as instruments of democracy  . Stable democracies work under a set of rules that specify how policymakers are to be chosen and how authoritative policies are to be made. These rules, whether embodied in a single document, a body of legislation, or just accepted practices, shape both the context and consequence of democratic elections.

Focusing on elections in twenty democracies over the past quarter century, G. Bingham Powell, J. examines the differences between two great visions of democracy-the majoritarian vision, in which citizens use the election process to choose decisively between two competing teams o. examines the differences between two great visions of democracy-the majoritarian vision, in which citizens use the election process to choose decisively between two competing teams of policymakers, providing the winner with the concentrated power to make public policy; and the proportional influence vision, in which citizens use. elections to choose political agents to represent their views in postelection bargaining, thereby dispersing power.

Skelner mellem majoritarian og proportional democracy og siger, at vælgere stemmer enten med henblik på.

Skelner mellem majoritarian og proportional democracy og siger, at vælgere stemmer enten med henblik på politikeres tidligere performance eller deres forventninger fremover. Deler op i firefeltet matrix. Mar 03, 2014 Michael Griswold rated it liked it. G. Bingham Powell in Elections as Instruments of Democracy has written a book evaluating the majoritarian and proportional visions of democracy. For political science people who’ve read hundreds of papers evaluating the two visions, a scream may go up.

Elections as instruments of democracy : majoritarian and proportional visions. New Haven, CT : Yale University Press. Elections as instruments of democracy : majoritarian and proportional visions, G. Bingham Powell, Jr Yale University Press New Haven, CT 2000. Australian/Harvard Citation. 2000, Elections as instruments of democracy : majoritarian and proportional visions, G. Bingham Powell, Jr Yale University Press New Haven, CT.

In this book, a leading scholar of comparative politics explores elections as instruments of democracy

In this book, a leading scholar of comparative politics explores elections as instruments of democracy. Focusing on elections in twenty democracies over the past quarter century, G. examines the differences between two great visions of democracy†the majoritarian vision, in which citizens use the election process to choose decisively between two competing teams of policymakers, providing the winner with the concentrated power to make public policy; and the proportional influence vision, in which citizens

However, Powell concludes, the proportional influence vision and its designs enjoy a clear advantage in creating policy . In this book, a leading scholar of comparative politics explores elections as instruments of democracy.

However, Powell concludes, the proportional influence vision and its designs enjoy a clear advantage in creating policy congruence between citizens and their policymakers-a finding that should give pause to those who are attracted to the idea of the decisive election as a direct tool for citizen control.

as Instruments of Democracy : Majoritarian and Proportional Visions in twenty democracies over the past quarter century, G.

Elections as Instruments of Democracy : Majoritarian and Proportional Visions.

Elections as Instruments of Democracy Majoritarian and Proportional Visions.

Powell’s conceptual alternative to the Westminster model – the proportional vision of democracy – comes in two variants, one focusing on proportional representation, the other on proportional legislative influence.

Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Visions by G. Powell J. This book explains under what circumstances such a betrayal of mandates occurs and with what consequences.

This book explains under what circumstances such a betrayal of mandates occurs and with what consequences. She uses statistical tools to test different hypotheses about the main determinants of policy switches.

An exploration of elections as instruments of democracy. Focusing on elections in 20 democracies over the last quarter of the 20th century, it examines the differences between two great visions of democracy - the majoritarian vision and the proportional influence vision.
Reviews:
  • Shaktizragore
G. Bingham Powell in Elections as Instruments of Democracy has written a book evaluating the majoritarian and proportional visions of democracy. For political science people who’ve read hundreds of papers evaluating the two visions, a scream may go up. Using 150 or so elections in twenty established democracy, he tests which version of democracy creates greater congruence between citizens and policymakers and finds that proportional systems do a better job than their majoritarian counter-parts. Which may explain why in recent years, the few majoritarian countries remaining have loosened the majoritarian nature of their electoral rules.

This was definitely written for the political science crowd, but it does bring to mind interesting questions that the person on the street needs to ask such as: “What does this mean for the functioning of democracy”? or Does this offer explanation for the current discontent many democratic polities have for their elected representatives? Instruments of Democracy contains fairly simply written ideas that should provoke thoughtful conversations about fundamental issues of democracy.
  • Foiuost
G.B. Powell's book "Elections as Instruments of Democracy" researches precisely what its title promises: elections as ways for citizens to have their preferences represented in a parliament. Because the procedure through which these preferences at election time get translated into representation is the voting system, Powell analyzes the two main voting 'visions' and their respective performance in actually doing what they promise, namely to represent people's wishes. This means also that he only goes into the way in which voting systems represent people in given countries empirically - he does not go into the "fairness" of certain aspects of the voting systems themselves, such as FPTP's tendency to actually not count around 70% of the vote in common elections.

These two viewpoints on voting systems are the majoritarian one, usually implemented as some form of first-past-the-post voting (or with runoff, like in France), and the proportional one, implemented as proportional representation or a (regionally) mixed system, like in Germany or Italy. Using extensive data from over 150 elections in more than 20 countries, Powell first reviews both the majoritarian and the proportional 'vision' according to their own standards. For the majoritarians, this is that the voters must clearly be able to identify which government they're going to get by voting, and that the will of the majority must be represented over that of the minority. For the proportionalists, this is that the voters must all be represented equitably in accordance with their popular support.

Using a system of (somewhat arbitrary) weighing of various criteria related to each vision's objectives, Powell shows that each is relatively good at doing what it wants to do. Still, the majoritarians come off more poorly than the proportionalists already, since in practice a given party rarely actually achieves a majority of all votes cast, and the distortions created by first-past-the-post voting actually enables the second-most popular party overall to gain majority representation, as happened in New Zealand in 1993: the National Party got 35% of the popular vote and an absolute majority in parliament.

But then Powell has to do the hardest task, and that is to meaningfully compare the voting systems in accordance with a common standard. He does this elegantly by measuring several criteria that are supposedly shared widely by supporters of both visions: effective representation and closeness of government to the median voter's preferences. The former is measured by looking at how the voters' preferences are actually weighed in the government policies, not by going into each policy everywhere individually, but by ranking the government parties or coalitions on a left-right scale. When weighed against various aspects of political rules that allow non-government parties a certain say as well (shared committees, veto powers in Senate, etc.), one can get a sort of 'weighted average' of the country's effective policy stance at a given point, and measure this against the self-identification of the voters.
The latter in turn is measured by looking at the median voters' preferences and then weighing this against the median legislator within the government (coalition).

Now some of the weights may seem somewhat arbitrary, but Powell's enormous data quantity and his neutral stance towards the actual content of policies (he avoids all pitfalls of having to measure the "leftistness" or "rightistness" of individual policies), as well as the way in which his data matches with a lot of prior political science work by Lijphart, Strom and others, lend his conclusions significant weight. In the end, Powell demonstrates that the proportional systems score systematically vastly better on scales of effective representation, closeness to median voter, and even considering that some of the common ways of measuring are themselves already put in majoritarian terms. One can have issues maybe with the left-right dimension's usefulness (Powell discusses this but claims the literature shows it has good predictive power), as well as the odd assumption he seems to make that people supporting a proportional vision tend to be more opposed to direct democracy and to be more "elitist", but the conclusions are clear as can be. The proportional voting system is the better one.
  • Ximinon
Purchased for a faculty member and I received no complaints.
  • X-MEN
"The tyranny of the legislature is really the danger most to be feared, and will continue to be so for many years to come." - Thomas Jefferson.

Contrary to democracy which is ideally defined in terms of "effective citizen control over policy", the minimalist version of democracy, which Dahl prefers to name as polyarchy, is defined in terms of institutions. Put simply, according to the minimalist approach, democracies systems in which officials are elected through "free and fair" elections. Bingham Powell's book "Elections as Instrument of Democracy" is a powerful study that demonstrates the "insufficiency" of the minimalist version of democracy with respect to responsiveness of the elected representatives to the preferences of the citizens.

The main point of Powell is that "elections, even free, competitive elections with universal suffrage, are the instruments of democracy, not democracy itself" (p. 160). The essence of democracy - rule by the people- means that the preferences of citizens, not their votes, will prevail in policy making. However, the minimalist understanding of democracy and the modern democracies we have in practice pays an exclusively greater attention to the mere existence of electoral institutions than to how far and well these institutions fare with respect to realizing the essence/ideal of democracy.

Powell criticizes the optimistic assumption that elections are sufficient instruments to reflect the exact/highest preferences of voters. There are a number of political and institutional factor that restrain the reflection of preference to their votes. First, election choices are constrained by the alternatives available to the voter. It is very likely that a citizen may not like any of the candidates and this may make his/her voting choosing "the best of several unpalatable alternatives". Second, the existence of `strong' candidates can lead voters to vote `strategically' and prefer to vote for a candidate that is less preferable yet with a high chance of winning the elections. Third, institutional elements such as thresholds prevent the reflection of the primary preferences of a considerable portion of the population to the elections. Thus, we cannot safely believe that by the end of an election we will `learn' the preferences of citizens. Therefore, we need to search for the electoral systems that come closest to the realization of the ideal of democracy on the one hand and establish new institutions that will increase the power of citizens in terms of policy making between the elections.

Another merit of Powell's book is that by analyzing the varying performances of different electoral systems with respect to accountability, responsiveness, and voter preferences, it demonstrates that each system has its own advantages and drawbacks.