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The Handbook of National Legislatures
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Book description

Where is the power? Students of politics have pondered this question, and social scientists have scrutinized formal political institutions and the distribution of power among agencies of the government and the state. But we still lack a rich bank of data measuring the power of specific governmental agencies, particularly national legislatures. This book assesses the strength of the national legislature of every country in the world with a population of at least a half-million inhabitants. The Legislative Powers Survey (LPS) is a list of thirty-two items that gauge the legislature's sway over the executive, its institutional autonomy, its authority in specific areas and its institutional capacity. Data were gathered by means of a vast international survey of experts, extensive study of secondary sources and painstaking analysis of constitutions and other relevant documents. Individual country chapters provide answers to each of the thirty-two survey items, supplemented by expert commentary and relevant excerpts from constitutions.

Reviews

‘A groundbreaking new study.'

Source: Foreign Policy

‘This is a truly useful, informative work, and one that provides a wealth of legislative information to other scholars. Since the essays are relatively brief, the collection will also appeal to the general reader. Summing up: highly recommended.'

Source: Choice

Review of the hardback:‘This is an impressive undertaking, genuinely novel in its conception and remarkably broad in scope. The strength of legislatures is a critical marker of the performance of representative institutions and of democracy more generally. Until Fish and Kroenig, there was no metric of legislative strength so comprehensive in the scope of powers and the range of countries considered.'

John Carey - Dartmouth College

Review of the hardback:‘This is a unique volume of enormous importance in its contribution to the creation of rich and truly comparative data on the formal and informal power of national legislatures across the world. The detailed and disaggregated information on no less than 32 indicators of legislative power, capacity, and capabilities provide a wealth of possibilities for future research that until now has been impossible. This book is destined to become a chief source for many important contributions in the future.'

Staffan I. Lindberg - University of Florida

Review of the hardback:‘The Handbook of National Legislatures by M. Steven Fish and Matthew Kroenig is a signal achievement. This compilation of basic information about 32 distinct features of the power and capacity of the national legislatures of 158 countries is based on careful study of the formal constitutional and legal rules as well as a comprehensive survey of country experts, who assessed how the powers are used in practice. The result is a valuable cross-national index of parliamentary powers and an authoritative reference guide to each of the world's major national legislatures.'

Thomas F. Remington - Emory University

Review of the hardback:'The substantial amount of constitutional data and analysis so assiduously collected by the authors provides a valuable overview of their chosen subject for students of political science …'

Source: Reference Reviews

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