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The multidimensionality of democracy: Institutional patterns and democratic quality: Lijphart's democratic quality thesis revisited


Bühlmann, Marc; Germann, Micha; Vatter, Adrian (2011). The multidimensionality of democracy: Institutional patterns and democratic quality: Lijphart's democratic quality thesis revisited. In: 1st Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA) , Dublin, 16 June 2011 - 18 June 2011.

Abstract

In his seminal work Patterns of Democracy, Arend Lijphart shows that, among other factors, power sharing enhances the quality of democracy. Lijphart’s analysis, however, suffers from a rather unsystematic and arbitrary choice of measures of democratic quality and from an implicit treatment of consensus democracy as a onedimensional concept. Our reanalysis aims at correcting for both. We make use of two new and unique datasets, the Democracy Barometer (DB) and the Consensus Democracy Indicators. Our results suggest that Lijphart is right, yet only in principle. Indeed, overall democratic quality seems to profit from power sharing. However, our findings lead to two important refinements of Lijphart’s democratic quality thesis. First, power sharing does not foster every aspect of the quality of democracy and, even worse, brings about low transparency. Second, the combination of consensus and majoritarian traits appears to matter. In particular, consensus-unitary democracies fare best – particularly if accompanied by consensual traits on the third consensus dimension that was not originally contemplated by Lijphart – and notably better than pure consensus democracies.

In his seminal work Patterns of Democracy, Arend Lijphart shows that, among other factors, power sharing enhances the quality of democracy. Lijphart’s analysis, however, suffers from a rather unsystematic and arbitrary choice of measures of democratic quality and from an implicit treatment of consensus democracy as a onedimensional concept. Our reanalysis aims at correcting for both. We make use of two new and unique datasets, the Democracy Barometer (DB) and the Consensus Democracy Indicators. Our results suggest that Lijphart is right, yet only in principle. Indeed, overall democratic quality seems to profit from power sharing. However, our findings lead to two important refinements of Lijphart’s democratic quality thesis. First, power sharing does not foster every aspect of the quality of democracy and, even worse, brings about low transparency. Second, the combination of consensus and majoritarian traits appears to matter. In particular, consensus-unitary democracies fare best – particularly if accompanied by consensual traits on the third consensus dimension that was not originally contemplated by Lijphart – and notably better than pure consensus democracies.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), not refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
02 Faculty of Law > Centre for Democracy Studies Aarau (C2D)
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
340 Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:consensus democracy, majoritarian democracy, quality of democracy, consociational democracy
Language:English
Event End Date:18 June 2011
Deposited On:01 Feb 2012 10:07
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 15:21
Additional Information:Kinder and Gentler Indeed? The Lijphart Thesis Revisited
Related URLs:http://www.epsanet.org/generalconference2011.html
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-54827

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