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Power Diffusion and Democracy
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Book description

Departing from the established literature connecting the political-institutional patterns of democracy with the quality of democracy, this book acknowledges that democracies, if they can be described as such, come in a wide range of formats. At the conceptual and theoretical level, the authors make an argument based on deliberation, redrawing power diffusion in terms of the four dimensions of proportionality, decentralisation, presidentialism and direct democracy, and considering the potential interactions between these aspects. Empirically, they assemble data on sixty-one democracies between 1990 and 2015 to assess the performance and legitimacy of democracy. Their findings demonstrate that while, for example, proportional power diffusion is associated with lower income inequality, there is no simple institutional solution to all societal problems. This book explains contemporary levels of power diffusion, their potential convergence and their manifestation at the subnational level in democracies including the United States, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

Reviews

‘Power Diffusion and Democracy is an enormously impressive work - a comparative masterpiece. It’s a theoretically and methodologically sophisticated analysis of the political-institutional arrangements in more than sixty democracies. The authors convincingly link the concept of deliberation, which matches my own work on the politics of accommodation, to the framework of patterns of democracy. The wide and deep database, the various analytical perspectives and the important findings make this book an essential reading for anyone interested in the mechanisms of power diffusion in democracies.’

Arend Lijphart - University of California, San Diego

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