How much influence do citizens have to control the government? What guides voters at election time? Why do governments survive? How do institutions modify the power of the people over politicians? The book combines academic analytical rigor with comparative analysis to identify how much information voters must have to select a politician for office, or for holding a government accountable; whether parties in power can help voters to control their governments; how different institutional arrangements influence voters' control; why politicians choose particular electoral systems; and what economic and social conditions may undermine not only governments, but democracy. Arguments are backed by vast macro and micro empirical evidence. There are cross-country comparisons and survey analyses of many countries. In every case there has been an attempt to integrate analytical arguments and empirical research. The goal is to shed new light on perplexing questions of positive democratic theory.
Jose Maria Maravall is the Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Juan March Institute (Madrid). He is also a Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid), an Honorary Fellow of St. Antony's College (Oxford University), and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He holds doctorates from the universities of Madrid and Oxford. He was a socialist member of Parliament and Minister of Education and Science from 1982 to 1988. His previous publications include Economic Reforms in New Democracies (1993); Regimes, Politics, and Markets (1997); and (with A. Przeworski) Democracy and the Rule of Law (2003). Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca is Professor of Political Science at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Juan March Institute (Madrid). He is also Associate Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid). He has been the Rice Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University, Visiting Scholar at New York University, and has held positions at Universidad Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and University of Salamanca. He has published three books in Spanish; articles in journals such as Government and Opposition; Party Politics; European Union Politics; and the European Journal of Sociology; as well as several Spanish journals. He also has chapters in several edited volumes, including Democracy and the Rule of Law (2003), edited by J. M. Maravall and A. Przeworski.
Introduction; 1. Explaining the electoral performance of incumbents in democracies Belen Barreiro; 2. How can governments be accountable if voters vote ideologically? Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca; 3. Enduring ethnicity: the political survival of incumbent ethnic parties in western democracies Sonia Alonso; 4. Performance or representation? The determinants of voting in complex political contexts Paloma Aguilar and Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca; 5. Political knowledge and the logic of voting: a comparative study Marta Fraile; 6. The political consequences of internal party democracy Jose Maria Maravall; 7. Choosing rules for government: the institutional preferences of early Socialist parties Alberto Penades; 8. Constitutions and democratic breakdowns Alicia Adsera and Carles Boix.