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Lecture 4: COMPARATIVE POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS. SOSC 152. Key Topics A. ROLE OF INSTITUTIONS B. POLITICAL PARTIES C. DISTRIBUTIONS OF POWER D. BUREAUCRACY E. MILITARY. Distribution of Political Values in Bimodal or Multi-modal, Unimodal Political Culture. Left. Right.

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Lecture 4: COMPARATIVE POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS


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    1. Lecture 4: COMPARATIVE POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS SOSC 152

    2. Key Topics • A. ROLE OF INSTITUTIONS • B. POLITICAL PARTIES • C. DISTRIBUTIONS OF POWER • D. BUREAUCRACY • E. MILITARY

    3. Distribution of Political Values in Bimodal or Multi-modal, Unimodal Political Culture Left Right

    4. A. THE ROLE OF INSTITUTIONS 1. What are Institutions? • key government and non-government organizations, as well as rules and norms which govern the political system. 2. What do they do? • determine the distribution of formal and informal power, the locus of formal political power, and the relations among political actors. • shape the formal politics of a political system by determining which institutions have legal authority to make rules and wield power. • create incentives for political action as politicians try to control and use them to advance their political interests. • aggregate political interests of the population and society

    5. 3. Why study them? • key political institutions affect political and economic decisions • allocation of wealth and power in the political system. • how they function affects nature of political systems, • which types of institutions have authority determines whether the system is democratic or authoritarianism

    6. B. POLITICAL PARTIES - fulfill the function of interest aggregation 1. HISTORICAL ROOTS OF POLITICAL PARTIES • some developed within parliaments, representing competing interests, such as landlords, bourgeoise (middle class) • rise of new social classes can lead to new parties, such as rise of working class parties • parties of immigrants to new countries • ethnic ties or religious groups form parties to protect interests • revolutionary organizations or movements become parties • parties can evolve out of factions in former communist systems, as in Hungary

    7. 2. PARTIES AND “INTEREST AGGREGATION” Interest Aggregation occurs in FOUR places: • a. within parties, as they put forward political platforms for elections. • - voters made aware of different goals and plans of parties • - parties try to create platforms or programs that will increase their votes. • b. through voters expressing preferences through elections. • - voters chose which party with which policies and representing what interests will form government • c. bargaining among parties over policies in the legislature • - less "electoral aggregation" • d. bargaining among branches of government after elections. • - presidents versus legislatures

    8. 3. TYPES OF PARTY SYSTEMS • no party system, • 1-party authoritarian system, • 1- party dominant democratic system, • 2-party system, • multi-party system.

    9. 4. TYPES OF ELECTORAL SYSTEMS AFFECTS PARTY POLITICS The type of electoral system can determine the number of parties and level of political stability of a system. a. Single Member District Plurality System - SMDP • "first past the post"--winner takes all--system • tends to squeeze out smaller parties which cannot gain seats • likely to be two party system • extremist views must move into "big tent" politics • tends to push parties to the centre, especially when political attitudes in populace are distributed "normally," as each party adjusts its program to attract more voters. • see Economic Theory of Democracy, Figure 1

    10. An Economic Theory of Democracy, I

    11. b. Proportional Representation System - PRS • number of seats based on the proportion of the vote received by each party, which is translated into seats in the legislature • according to an agreed formula, (See table) • usually found in conflictual and polarized political culture, where attitudes have bi-modal or multi-modal distribution. • See Figure: Types of Electoral Systems and Party Systems • allows many viewpoints to be represented in legislature, and gives minority groups a voice; • more representative, as but less stable, but without it, excluded minorities could come violent • But leads leads to multiparty system as there is no pressure for parties to unify different ideologies in the same party • each ideology can get a number of seats, and thenthey form alliances in the parliament • leads to coalition or minority governments, which are unstable • small radical parties can have major influence on public policy • See Figure 6.1: Interest Aggregation by Competitive Parties and Voter

    12. How Elections work for a Proportional Representation (PR) System Step 1. Parties make Party List, with a list of names of top candidates in the party. * list could contain as many names as there are seats in the legislature Step 2. Voters go to polls but only have one vote for the party they prefer. Party List * they do not vote for individual candidates, but only for the list or slate of candidates proposed by the party. Step 3. Let us assume that there are 300 seats in the parliament and 5 parties competing in the elections * so voters go and vote for whichever of the 5 parties they prefer. Party 1. Party 2 Party 3 Party 4 Party 5 No. of candidates 80 names 100 names 120 names 30 names 40 names percent of votes 20% 30% 35% 12% 3% No. of seats/party 60 90 105 36 0* Note:* Usually a party needs a minimum of 5% of the total vote to get any seats in the parliament

    13. Types of Electoral Systems and Party Systems Two-party systems TYPE of PARTY SYSTEM Multiparty systems

    14. Interest Aggregation by Competitive Parties and Voter

    15. C. DISTRIBUTION OF POWER 1. TERRITORIAL DISTRIBUTIONS OF POWER: WHERE DOES POWER LIE? a. Geographical Distribution: Unitary, Federation, Confederation • Unitary: one level of government controls resources and decision making on most issues • China, Egypt, France, South Korea • Federation: - two levels of authority with formal powers distributed • centralized versus peripheral federalism • degree of central versus regional power varies over time • Canada, with distribution of power among central government in Ottawa and in the 11 provinces. 

    16. Confederation: one level of authority, based on alliance of two semi-sovereign provinces or states. * See Figure: Divisions and Limitations of Governmental Authority • Type of System determined by history and political compromises among regional or ethnic/territorial groups b. Affects the type of legislature • federal system usually leads to two legislative chambers, one based on population, second based on regional interests. • in some cases, second chamber is based on ethnicity or aristocracy

    17. Divisions and Limitations of Governmental Authority

    18. 2. INSTITTUTIONAL DISTRIBUTION OR AUTHORITY a. "SEPARATION OF POWERS" among Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary b. Westminister System has dominant Legislature • Executive is Prime Minister, whose party has most seats in legislature • importance of "loyal opposition" and "question period" for oversight • members of government, called Cabinet, chosen from elected members of Legislature • opposition forms “shadow cabinet” with “shadow ministers” responsible with portfolios to keep track of the minister. • "Parliamentary Party" insists that elected reps follow party policies • Most systems have TWO legislatures, one more powerful than other

    19. Physical structure of Westminister Parliamentary System

    20. c. Presidential System as in U.S. • President is Executive, with separate election for Chief of government and the legislature • President proposes legislation, legislature makes laws to meet those proposals • balance of power varies across systems as some have very dominant President (France and Russia today) • members of Cabinet chosen from elites and friends of President, not necessarily from people elected to the legislature. d. Socialist and Authoritarian Systems • legislature may be only "rubber stamp" • true power in top levels of ruling political party or army • large Cabinet composed of top party leaders running government ministries e. Judicial Review • courts can declare that other levels or parts of government have exceeded authority • ability to overturn government decisions varies across systems • can be the key institution determining the distribution of political authority on variety of issues.

    21. D. BUREAUCRACY 1. Defined as "Rule By Desk," • used to define the Civil Service 2. Formal Roles: • permanent Administrators expected to implement will of politicians • expected to be politically neutral, applying abstract, predefined rules to every situation • in theory, is not expected to have their own interests or to act on behalf of those interests 3. Complexity of Society has increased their authority • politicians rely on them for information, ideas, strategies of policy implementation • rise of technical bureaucracy, or "technocracy" in all types of political systems • play role in "interventionist welfare state" in the 20th century, based on Keynesianism, where the state, under a capitalist regime, is actively involved in many aspects of the economy and in delivering “public goods”

    22. 4. Bureaucracy and bureaucrats are very powerful in socialist systems • Power comes from planned economies • power also based on unclear property rights 5. Number of positions rotated after each election affects their influence • selecting top appointees is the privilege of new government • U.S. president appoints 2,000 positions, British Prime Minister only 300 • U.S. president has more influence over the bureaucracy than a Prime Minister in a parliamentary system because his appointees are much deeper in the system. • in Westminister system, the deputy minister may be a permanent bureaucrat, like Permanent Secretaries in Hong Kong 6. Bureaucrats can develop independent interests • important policy makers through power of policy implementation  • likely to resist efforts to cut back on size of bureaucracy • Their goal is often to expand the resources controlled by their bureau • They have values that may conflict with those of the politicians

    23. E. MILITARY 1. Key Actors in Unstable Political Systems • “Coup d’etats” likely when political institutions, such as parties or parliament, are unstable or challenge military interests • military is often the only stable institution when ethnic conflict destroys parties • more likely to intervene if there is “political decay” • in Latin America, the military was the ally of the middle class against working class in "bureaucratic authoritarian regimes" • also helped suppress Marxist rebellions in Central America and helped large plantation owners keep their power.

    24. 2. Seen as Modernizers in Developing Countries • important actor in East Asia bringing economic development (Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Taiwan) • have the power to become important economic actors in developing countries • problem of corruption when they get involved in business, as in Indonesia, Thailand 3. Important role in communist systems • pressures to intervene in politics when intra-party conflicts erupt • military often “penetrated” and controlled by Communist Party