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New Comparative Politics

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Curbing Bailouts

Bank Crises and Democratic Accountability in Comparative Perspective

Guillermo Rosas

Rosas's compelling theory and wide-ranging empirical evidence yield a persuasive but surprising conclusion in light of the financial meltdown of 2008–9. In the event of banking crises, not only do elected governments treat taxpayers better and force bankers and their creditors to pay more for their mistakes, but bankers in democracies are more prudent as a consequence . . . essential reading for all interested in the political economy of crisis and in the future of banking regulation. ---Philip Keefer, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, The World Bank "Rosas convincingly demonstrates how democratic accountability affects the incidence and resolution of banking crises. Combining formal models, case studies, and cutting-edge quantitative methods, Rosas's book represents a model for political economy research." ---William Bernhard, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Illinois "When the financial crises of the 1990s hit Asia, Russia, and Latin America, the U.S. scolded them about the moral hazard problems of bailing out the banks. Now, the shoe is on the other foot, with the U.S. struggling to manage an imploding financial sector. Rosas's study of bank bailouts could not be more timely, providing us with both a framework for thinking about the issue and some sobering history of how things go both right and badly wrong. Democratic accountability proves the crucial factor in making sure bailouts are fair, a point that is as relevant for U.S. policy as for an understanding of the emerging markets." ---Stephan Haggard, Krause Professor, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego Banking crises threaten the stability and growth of economies around the world. In response, politicians restore banks to solvency by redistributing losses from bank shareholders and depositors to taxpayers, and the burden the citizenry must bear varies from case to case. Whereas some governments stay close to the prescriptions espoused by Sir Walter Bagehot in the nineteenth century that limit the costs shouldered by taxpayers, others engage in generous bank bailouts at great cost to society. What factors determine a government's response? In this comparative analysis of late-twentieth-century banking crises, Guillermo Rosas identifies political regime type as the determining factor. During a crisis, powerful financial players demand protection of their assets. Rosas maintains that in authoritarian regimes, government officials have little to shield them from such demands and little incentive for rebuffing them, while in democratic regimes, elected officials must weigh these demands against the interests of the voters---that is, the taxpayers. As a result, compared with authoritarian regimes, democratic regimes show a lower propensity toward dramatic, costly bailouts. Guillermo Rosas is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Fellow at the Center in Political Economy at Washington University in St. Louis.

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Democracy, Dictatorship, and Term Limits

Alexander Baturo

A national constitution or other statute typically specifies restrictions on executive power, often including a limit to the number of terms the chief executive may hold office. In recent decades, however, some presidents of newly established democracies have extended their tenure by various semilegal means, thereby raising the specter—and in some cases creating the reality—of dictatorship. Alexander Baturo tracks adherence to and defiance of presidential term limits in all types of regimes (not only democratic regimes) around the world since 1960. Drawing on original data collection and fieldwork to investigate the factors that encourage playing by or manipulating the rules, he asks what is at stake for the chief executive if he relinquishes office. Baturo finds that the income-generating capacity of political office in states where rent-seeking is prevalent, as well as concerns over future immunity and status, determines whether or not an executive attempts to retain power beyond the mandated period. Democracy, Dictatorship, and Term Limits will appeal to scholars of democratization and executive power and also to political theorists.

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Democracy, Electoral Systems, and Judicial Empowerment in Developing Countries

Vineeta Yadav and Bumba Mukherjee

The power granted to the courts, both in a nation’s constitution and in practice, reveals much about the willingness of the legislative and executive branches to accept restraints on their own powers. For this reason, an independent judiciary is considered an indication of a nation’s level of democracy. Vineeta Yadav and Bumba Mukherjee use a data set covering 159 developing countries, along with comparative case studies of Brazil and Indonesia, to identify the political conditions under which de jure independence is established. They find that the willingness of political elites to grant the courts authority to review the actions of the other branches of government depends on the capacity of the legislature and expectations regarding the judiciary’s assertiveness. Moving next to de facto independence, Yadav and Mukherjee bring together data from 103 democracies in the developing world, complemented by case studies of Brazil, India, and Indonesia. Honing in on the effects of electoral institutions, the authors find that, when faced with short time horizons, governments that operate in personal vote electoral systems are likely to increase de facto judicial independence whereas governments in party-centered systems are likely to reduce it.

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The Madisonian Turn

Political Parties and Parliamentary Democracy in Nordic Europe

Torbjörn Bergman and Kaare Strøm, editors

This book is unique in its comparative scope and the wealth of information on the state of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic countries. It is particularly useful for the comparativists who do not come from these countries, because the original literature which it covers in detail is often not accessible for the English-speaking audience. ---Hanspeter Kriesi, University of Zurich Parliamentary democracy is the most common regime type in the contemporary political world, but the quality of governance depends on effective parliamentary oversight and strong political parties. Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden have traditionally been strongholds of parliamentary democracy. In recent years, however, critics have suggested that new challenges such as weakened popular attachment, the advent of cartel parties, the judicialization of politics, and European integration have threatened the institutions of parliamentary democracy in the Nordic region. This volume examines these claims and their implications. The authors find that the Nordic states have moved away from their previous resemblance to a Westminster model toward a form of parliamentary democracy with more separation-of-powers features---a Madisonian model. These features are evident both in vertical power relations (e.g., relations with the European Union) and horizontal ones (e.g., increasingly independent courts and central banks). Yet these developments are far from uniform and demonstrate that there may be different responses to the political challenges faced by contemporary Western democracies. Torbjörn Bergman is Professor of Political Science at Umeå University, Sweden. Kaare Strøm is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

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Political Survival of Small Parties in Europe

Jae-Jae Spoon

"Engagingly written and employing a fruitful mix of comparative research methods, this book explains how and why small parties, while they may not be entirely masters of their own fate, are more than simply corks tossed on the ocean. It adds significantly to our understanding, and deserves to be widely read." ---Tim Bale, University of Sussex, UK "Spoon uses innovative methods for examining the effect of green party behavior on their electoral fortunes, electoral presence, and visibility to the public . . . This book makes an important contribution to the fields of niche party fortunes, party politics, and comparative politics in general." ---Bonnie Meguid, University of Rochester "Political Survival of Small Parties in Europe offers the rare treat of a small-n comparison that engages with broad political science issues of small party flair, feat, and fate. Mixed methods means that the depth of knowledge about individual cases is balanced with a theoretical ambition. In contrast with many other approaches, Spoon demonstrates the agency of small parties in adapting and using the constraints of their political and institutional environments." ---Florence Faucher, Sciences Po---Centre d'études européennes, France It is often thought that small party survival or failure is a result of institutional constraints, the behavior of large parties, and the choices of individual politicians. Jae-Jae Spoon, in contrast, argues that the decisions made by small parties themselves determine their ability to balance the dual goals of remaining true to their ideals while maximizing their vote and seat shares, thereby enabling them to survive even in adverse electoral systems. Spoon employs a mixed-methods approach in order to explore the policy, electoral, and communication strategies of West European green parties from 1980 to the present. She combines cross-national data on these parties with in-depth comparative case studies of two New Politics parties, the French and British green parties, that have survived in similar national-level plurality electoral systems. Both of these green parties have developed as organizations and now run candidates in elections at the local, national, and European levels in their respective countries. The parties' survival, Spoon asserts, results from their ability to balance their competing electoral, policy, and communication goals. Jacket design: Heidi Hobde Dailey

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The Taiwan Voter

Christopher H. Achen and T. Y. Wang, Editors

The Taiwan Voter examines the critical role ethnic and national identities play in politics, utilizing the case of Taiwan. Although elections there often raise international tensions, and have led to military demonstrations by China, no scholarly books have examined how Taiwan’s voters make electoral choices in a dangerous environment. Critiquing the conventional interpretation of politics as an ideological battle between liberals and conservatives, The Taiwan Voter demonstrates in Taiwan the party system and voters’ responses are shaped by one powerful determinant of national identity—the China factor.

Taiwan’s electoral politics draws international scholarly interest because of the prominent role of ethnic and national identification. While in most countries the many tangled strands of competing identities are daunting for scholarly analysis, in Taiwan the cleavages are powerful and limited in number, so the logic of interrelationships among issues, partisanship, and identity are particularly clear. The Taiwan Voter unites experts to investigate the ways in which social identities, policy views, and partisan preferences intersect and influence each other. These novel findings have wide applicability to other countries, and will be of interest to a broad range of social scientists interested in identity politics.

 

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Veto Power

Institutional Design in the European Union

Jonathan B. Slapin

"This is a terrific book. The questions that Slapin asks about intergovernmental conferences (IGCs) in the European Union are extraordinarily important and ambitious, with implications for the EU and for international cooperation more generally. Furthermore, Slapin's theorizing of his core questions is rigorous, lucid, and accessible to scholarly readers without extensive formal modeling background . . . This book is a solid, serious contribution to the literature on EU studies."
---Mark Pollack, Temple University



"An excellent example of the growing literature that brings modern political science to bear on the politics of the European Union."
---Michael Laver, New York University



Veto rights can be a meaningful source of power only when leaving an organization is extremely unlikely. For example, small European states have periodically wielded their veto privileges to override the preferences of their larger, more economically and militarily powerful neighbors when negotiating European Union treaties, which require the unanimous consent of all EU members.



Jonathan B. Slapin traces the historical development of the veto privilege in the EU and how a veto---or veto threat---has been employed in treaty negotiations of the past two decades. As he explains, the importance of veto power in treaty negotiations is one of the features that distinguishes the EU from other international organizations in which exit and expulsion threats play a greater role. At the same time, the prominence of veto power means that bargaining in the EU looks more like bargaining in a federal system. Slapin's findings have significant ramifications for the study of international negotiations, the design of international organizations, and European integration.

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