A Centripetal Theory of Democratic Governance

A Centripetal Theory of Democratic Governance

By: Strom C. Thacker (author), John Gerring (author)Paperback

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This book outlines the importance of political institutions in achieving good governance within a democratic polity and sets forth an argument to explore what sorts of institutions do the job best. By focusing on 'centripetal institutions', which maximize both representation and authority by bringing political energy and actors toward the centre of a polity, the authors set forth a relatively novel theory of democratic governance, applicable to all political settings in which multi-party competition obtains. Basing their theory on national-level political institutions, the authors argue that there are three types of political institutions that are fundamental in securing a centripetal style of democratic governance: unitary (rather than federal) sovereignty, a parliamentary (rather than presidential) executive, and a closed-list PR electoral system (rather than a single-member district or preferential-vote system).

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About Author

John Gerring (PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 1993) is Professor of Political Science at Boston University, where he teaches courses on methodology and comparative politics. His books include Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1996 (Cambridge University Press, 1998), Social Science Methodology: A Criterial Framework (Cambridge University Press, 2001), Case Study Research: Principles and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Concepts and Method: Giovanni Sartori and his Legacy (Routledge, 2009), Social Science Methodology: Tasks, Strategies, and Criteria (Cambridge University Press, 2011), Global Justice: A Prioritarian Manifesto (in process), and Democracy and Development: A Historical Perspective (in process). He served as a fellow of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ), as a member of The National Academy of Sciences' Committee on the Evaluation of USAID Programs to Support the Development of Democracy, as President of the American Political Science Association's Organized Section on Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, and is the current recipient of a grant from the National Science Foundation to collect historical data related to colonialism and long-term development.


1. Models of governance; Part I. Causal Mechanisms: 2. Party government; 3. Conflict mediation; 4. Policy coordination; Part II. Empirics: 5. Hypotheses; 6. Crossnational tests; 7. Assessing the evidence; Part III. Conclusions: 8. In defense of grand theory; Appendix A. Defining good governance; Appendix B. Alternative theories revisited; Sources.

Product Details

  • publication date: 08/06/2008
  • ISBN13: 9780521710152
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 248
  • ID: 9780521710152
  • weight: 350
  • ISBN10: 0521710154

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