The Calculus of Consensus Democracy-- Rethinking Patterns of Democracy Without Veto Players

Abstract

We present a theory of comparative political institutions based on the concept of consensus democracy and social choice theory. Unlike Lijphart, we argue that “consensus democracy” is not a special form of democracy characterized by mutual vetoes, but rather the simplest form of democracy, which we refer to as PR-majority rule. We construct a typology of political institutions based on differences with this simple model. Contra Tsebelis’s veto players approach, our theory predicts that PR-majority rule should be the most flexible form of democracy. We test this with data on overall patterns of government spending and on welfare state reform.

Publication
Comparative Political Studies, 46(7)

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