Which type of democracy performs best?
Doorenspleet, Renske, 1973- and Pellikaan, Huib. (2012) Which type of democracy performs best? Acta Politica, Volume 48 (Number 3). pp. 237-267. ISSN 0001-6810
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ap.2012.35
Which type of democracy performs best? While some scholars argue that an electoral system with proportional representation combined with a decentralized system works best, and that the type of electoral system is crucial (Lijphart 1999), others state that a proportional electoral system with a centralized (and hence not decentralized) system lead to better performance (Gerring et al. 2005; Gerring and Thacker 2008). Still other scholars claim that decentralization is crucial, particularly in countries with deeply divided societies (Norris 2008). In this article, we argue that Lijphart’s earlier 1960s work needs to be combined with his more recent 1990s work, which results in an eightfold classification. This cube with eight different types of democracy not only enables us to compare the three rival claims in a systematic way, but is also a helpful tool for future studies focusing on types of democratic systems, and their origins and consequences. Our findings show that the type of electoral system is always crucial; the other two dimensions are crucial as well, though under different circumstances. In order to achieve the highest level of good governance, the best choice for the type of political system (centralization or decentralization) depends on the structure of the society (homogeneous or not). Centralization is best in homogeneous societies, while decentralization is best in heterogeneous societies. We recommend that future studies take into account all eight different types of democracy that can be distinguished based on Lijphart’s theoretical arguments in earlier and later work.
|Item Type:||Journal Article|
|Subjects:||J Political Science > JC Political theory|
|Divisions:||Faculty of Social Sciences > Politics and International Studies|
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Democracy|
|Journal or Publication Title:||Acta Politica|
|Publisher:||Palgrave Macmillan Ltd.|
|Official Date:||November 2012|
|Number of Pages:||45|
|Page Range:||pp. 237-267|
|Access rights to Published version:||Restricted or Subscription Access|
Aarts, C.W.A.M. and J.J.A. Thomassen (2008). ‘Satisfaction with Democracy: Do Institutions Matter?’, Electoral Studies 27: 5-18.
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