About the Society
Papers, Posters, Syllabi
Submit an Item
Polmeth Mailing List
Below results based on the criteria 'institutions'
Total number of records returned: 5
Advancement in the House of Representatives
Multiparty Government, Fiscal Institutions, and Public Spending
In the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis, the size of the public sector has been a central, and often controversial, item on the political agenda, as governments from Europe to the United States have embarked on new campaigns to reduce public spending. Previous research on the political factors underlying public spending has naturally focused on the characteristics of the governments that make budgetary decisions. Most recently, scholars have argued, and shown empirically, that spending tends to be larger when cabinets are composed of multiple political parties, and larger still when those coalitions include more members. The key theoretical insight is that spending constitutes a ``common pool resource" problem, which is more difficult to solve for multiparty governments than for single-party administrations because doing so requires the cooperation of actors who are electorally accountable to separate constituencies. In this study, drawing on recent research on the impact of institutions on coalition policymaking, we challenge the prevailing wisdom in this area. Specifically, we argue that rules that reduce the influence of individual government parties in budget formulation, and increase their incentives to oppose the spending demands of their partners, significantly mitigate the common pool resource problem and thus reduce the expansionary effect of coalition governance on spending. Our empirical analysis of public spending in fifteen European democracies over a thirty-five year period supports our argument. Our findings demonstrate that in certain institutional environments, multiparty governments will spend no more than their single-party counterparts. Our conclusions also offer hope that appropriate institutional reforms may be part of a political solution to the financial woes currently confronting multiparty governments across Europe.
Can Voting Reduce Welfare? Evidence from the US Telecommunications Sector
Voter turnout is popularly cited as reflecting a polity's health. The ease with which electoral members influence policy can, however, constrain an economy's productive capacity. For example, while influential electorates might carefully monitor political agents, they might also "capture" them. In the latter case, electorates transfer producer surplus to consumers at the expense of social welfare - i.e., a "healthy" polity's economy rests at an inferior equilibrium. I develop evidence that the US telecommunications sector may have realized such an outcome. This evidence is remarkably difficult to dismiss as an artifact of endogeneity bias, and appears important for several audiences. For example, the normative regulation literature calls for constraints on producers' market power, while the institutions and commitment literature calls for checks on political agents' opportunism. Evidence that I develop here suggests that, unbound by similar constraints, electoral principals might effectively control their political agents while significantly retarding their economic agents' productive incentives.
The Design of National Human Rights Institutions: A Comparative Analysis
National Human Rights Institutions
How do national human rights institutions (NHRIs) differ? Why do these differences occur? This study aims to answer those questions by developing a theory of executive power to influence institution design. Specifically, the executive wishes to keep NHRIs from holding him accountable. He does so by exerting his political and legal advantages vis–a–vis the legislature to keep the NHRI from being able to levy punishment against him, essentially leaving the NHRI toothless. The legislature will press back more or less based on the political and legal circumstances making the executive’s preferences harder or easier to achieve. By estimating a linear Bayesian logistic regression on the global population of NHRIs from 1991–2012, I confirm the theory that the executive’s ability to exert his will affects the design of NHRIs.
Colonial Institutions, Political Competition and Violence: Lessons from Medicine Murders in Lesotho
This paper analyzes the effect of British colonial institutions on violence in Lesotho. Using a newly constructed time series dataset, it demonstrates that medicine murders (a form of chief-led human sacrifice) were higher in the years when British administrative reforms exposed native chiefs to electoral competition for the first time, and in subsequent years of elections and formation of new political parties. The results demonstrate one causal mechanism - colonial institutions affected violence by increasing political competition amongst native elites. This evidence also complements constructivist claims that political competition increases religious violence.