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Rational-choice institutionalism model

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Institutional Engineering
in the post-transformation period
European University Viadrina
Electoral Politics in new European Democracies
Lecturer Prof. Dr. Timm Beichelt
Referee Charlotte MГјllenbroich marie.charlotte@web.de
Frankfurt / Oder, 20th June 2007
Overview
Institutional Engineering
in the post-transformation period
1. Institutions and rational choice
neo-institutionalism
2. Electoral engineering
3. Constitutional engineering in
constitution-making processes
4. Conclusions
5. References
Political Institutions
• formal (and informal) rules regulating all political
behaviour and the political process
• fix how authority and power is constituted,
exercised, legitimated, controlled and
redistributed
• constitution, government, parliament, electoral
laws
define the rules of the political democratic
game: who can play, when and how
New / Neo -Institutionalism
• ‚old institutionalism�: „Grandpa`s political science“ (v. Beyme 2001)
describing / comparing formal
institutions of government / state
• new institutionalism:
institutions determine both the behaviour of
political actors and the social and
political outcomes
institutions matter
the concrete design of institutions matter
New / Neo -Institutionalism
• 3 approaches: institutional development characterized by
• Historical:
path dependency
• Sociological: ‚logic of social appropriateness� (Campbell 1989)
• Rational choice:
• actors behave in a strategic manner that presumes
calculation
• institutions form the expectations one actor has about
the (actual and future) behaviour of others and
thereby influence his behaviour
• institutions enable political decisions by not allowing
each imaginable desicion (through incentives and
constraints)...
Rational choice -Institutionalism
... continued:
• institutions perform certain functions and provide
benefits for each actor
• existence of institution is explained by reference to
the value its functions have for actors (the benefits
they gain from the existence of the institution)
• actors create institutions in order to realize this
value / benefits
• institutions are choosen because of their functional
consequences for those who create or chose them
Institutional engineering
institutions matter as they
•
generate incentives shaping the rational
goal-seeking behaviour of politicians, parties and
citizens
•
perform certain functions with predictable
consequences if all actors behave rationally
the actual design of institutions then matters as well and
is prone to institutional engineering by parliaments etc.
Institutional engineering
Scholars interested in institutional engineering debate the
pros and cons of various institutional designs in and for
consolidating democracies
2 existantial choices have been focused upon:
•
•
electoral engineering: PR vs. Majoritarian
constitutional engineering: Presidental vs. Parliamentary
Electoral engineering
Formal electoral rules generate incentives
Rational Motivations: Political actors respond to incentives
According to electoral
threshold, parties adopt
bridging or bonding
strategies
According to ballot
structure, politicians
emphasize programmatic
or particularistic benefits
According to ballot
structure, parties adopt
socially diverse or
homogeneous candidates
Indirect effects of rules
Citizens respond rationally
Conclusion:
Direct effects of rules
Reforming the formal rules has the
capacity to alter political behaviour
at mass and elite level
Source: Norris 2004
Electoral engineering
Formal electoral rules generate incentives
Rational Motivations: Political actors respond to incentives
According to electoral
threshold, parties adopt
bridging or bonding
strategies
According to ballot
structure, politicians
emphasize programmatic
or particularistic benefits
According to ballot
structure, parties adopt
socially diverse or
homogeneous candidates
Indirect effects of rules
Citizens respond rationally
Conclusion:
Direct effects of rules
Reforming the formal rules has the
capacity to alter political behaviour
at mass and elite level
Source: Norris 2004
Electoral engineering field test
Founding elections
• Adoption of electoral system depending on the
perceived balance of power between former
communist elites and opposition
• PR chosen by opposition
• Majority by former communist elites
• Mixed system as result of bargaining
party elites choose systems to maximize their
seats (though intended and actual result might
defer)
Source: Dawisha 2006
Electoral engineering field test
2nd round of elections
• based on the results of first round elections
amendments to electoral rules were made
increase legitimacy and stability by increasing
proportionality
lower thresholds
reduce fragmentation of party system and promote
governance
higher thresholds
parties act more strategically:
balanced seat maximizing with stable governance
Source: Dawisha 2006
Electoral engineering field test
Voters
• reacted rationally to the incentives only after the
second round
needed to learn and abide by the new rules of the
game
• 3rd round voters voted act strategically to avoid
wasted votes
Institutions become constraining and political actors
have learned the rules of the game
Source: Dawisha 2006
Constitutional engineering
(Semi-) Presidentialism vs. Parliamentarism
• early constitutional engineering scholars had solely
concentrated on the question which governmental
system / design is most adequate for consolidating
democracies
• performances concerning the stability of the regime,
inclusion, efficiency and accountability of
governmental systems were compared
Constitutional engineering field test
„Scholarly writing about institutional engineering since
communism’s demise has typically emphasized optimal
design rather than optimal process.“ (Stanger 2004)
in constitutional making „the process is at
least as important as the product“ (Elgie / Zielonka 2001)
Constitutional engineering technically recommends a
certain product that best fits the context and the
problems, but whether this product is chosen depends
on the interests of institutional architects
Constitutional engineering field test
Elster (1997) has analysed different causal forces in
CEE constitution-making processes
• individual, group and institutional interests (more or
less) shape the constitution
• external influences: foreign experts and existing
constitutions as models
• influence of pre-communist and communist
constitutions (life after death)
process as a mix of bargaining (self-interest) and
arguing (common interest)
constitutional engineering relies on rational,
problemoriented arguing
A concept applicable in the post-transformation period?
• institutional engineering was developed for the
transition from democracy to democracy at a time
when a consolidated democracy was in crisis (v. Beyme 2001)
• as democratic consolidation evolves, the capability to
‚argue� rather than ‚bargain� increases and possibilities
for fine tuning arise (Tiemann 2006)
major institutional changes seem to be less
common but especially electoral engineering offers
a panoply of finetuning options
A concept applicable in the post-transformation period?
• concept applied trying :
• to manage, solve or prevent ethnic conflicts
•
federalism vs. centralism
•
electoral system design
•
government systems / decision-making
mechanisms
•
to rebuild political orders: constitutional
engineering in post-conflict situations
•
Afghanistan, Iraq
Journal of Democracy 16 (2005) 1
International Journal on Multicultural Societies 8 (2006) 2
http://portal.unesco.org/shs/en/ev.php-URL_ID=2547&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
Conclusion
1. The rational choice neo-institutional approach provides
a conceptual ground for institutional engineers and
allows for concrete reform recommendations for
different outcomes and contexts.
2. Institutional engineering, however, presupposes a
thorough problem and (social and political) context
analysis and the subsequent informed decision and
implementation of the appropriate institution.
3. Institutions, however, are products of complex political
bargaining and contexts and therefore tend to be
hybrids rather vaguely resembling the initial or
intended (imported) institutional designs
References
Benoit, Kenneth: Models of Electoral System Change, Electoral Studies 23 (2004), pp. 363 – 389.
Benoit, Kenneth / Hayden, Jacqueline: Institutional Change and Persistence: The Evolution of Poland�s Electoral
System, 1989 – 2001, Journal of Politics 66 (2004) 2, pp. 396 – 427.
Birch, Sarah / Millard, Frances / Popescu, Marina / Williams, Kieran: Embodying Democracy. Electoral System Design
in Post-Communist Europe. Houndmills 2002.
Bos, Ellen: Verfassungsgebung und Systemwechsel. Die Institutionalisierung von Demokratien im postsozialistischen
Osteuropa. Wiesbaden 2004.
Dawisha, Karen / Deets, Stephen: Political Learning in Post-Communist Elections, East European Politics and Society
20 (2006) 4, pp. 691 – 728.
Elster, Jon: Constitution-Making in Central and Eastern Europe: Rebuilding the Boat at Open Sea, Public
Administration 71 (1993) 1 / 2, pp. 169 – 217.
Hall, Peter A. / Taylor, Rosemary C. R.: Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms, Political Studies XLIV
(1996), pp. 936 – 957.
Hoffman, Amanda L.: Political parties, Electoral Systems and Democracy: A Cross-national Analysis, European
Journal of Political Research 44 (2005), pp. 231 – 242.
Electoral System Design. The New International IDEA Handbook 2005. Available online
http://www.idea.int/publications/esd/index.cfm
Norris, Pippa: Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior. Cambridge 2004.
Pierson, Paul: The Limits of Design: Explaining Institutional Origins and Change, Governance: An International
Journal of Policy and Administration 13 (2000) 4, pp. 475 – 496.
Sartori, Giovanni: Comparative Constitutional Engineering. An Inquiry into Structures, Incentives and Outcomes.
Houndsmills 1994.
Stanger, Allison: How Important are New Constitutions for Democratic Consolidation? Lessons From the Postcommunist States, Democratization 11 (2004) 3, pp. 1 – 26.
Tiemann, Guido: Das Endogenitätsproblem politischer Institutionen und die Optionen von „Electoral“ und
„Constitutional Engineering“. In: Gert Pickel / Susanne Pickel (eds.): Demokratisierung im Internationalen
Vergleich. Neue Erkenntnisse und Perspektiven. Wiesbaden 2006. pp. 211 – 236.
Zielonka, Jan: Democratic Consolidation in Eastern Europe. Volume I Institutional Engineering. Oxford 2001.
Thank you for
your kind attention!
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