What are the main factors that allow presidents and prime ministers to enact policy through acts of government that carry the force of law? Or, simply put, when does a government actually govern? The theory presented in this book provides a major advance in our understanding of statutory policy making. Using a combination of an original analytical framework and statistical techniques, as well as historical and contemporary case studies, the book demonstrates that, contrary to conventional wisdom, variations in legislative passage rates are the consequences of differences in uncertainty, not partisan support. In particular, it shows that a chief executive's legislative success depends on the predictability of legislators' voting behavior and whether buying votes is a feasible option. From a normative standpoint, the book reveals that governability is best served when the opposition has realistic chances of occasionally defeating the executive in the legislative arena.
Sebastian M. Saiegh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. He received his PhD in Politics from New York University and he also holds a Masters degree in Latin American Studies from Stanford University. He has previously taught at the University of Pittsburgh, the Universidad de San Andres (Argentina) and the Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina). His research interests cut across the fields of comparative politics, positive political theory and political economy. His work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science, the British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, Comparative Politics, Economics and Politics, the Journal of Politics and Legislative Studies Quarterly.
Part I. Introduction: 1. Introduction; Part II. Theoretical Foundations: 2. On statutory policy making; 3. A model of statutory policy making under uncertainty; Part III. Empirical Implications: 4. Measuring chief executives' statutory performance; 5. Patterns of statutory policy making around the world; 6. Political prowess or 'lady luck'?; 7. Buying legislators; 8. Electoral rules and lawmaking; Part IV. Normative Implications: 9. The political gap; Part V. Conclusions: 10. Conclusions.