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Presidentialism, Parliamentarism, and the Provision of Collective Goods in Less-Developed Countries

Abstract

Parliamentary systems are more likely, ceteris paribus, than presidential systems to give politicians the incentive to provide policies aimed at broad national constituencies rather than at particularistic sectoral or regional constituencies, because a parlimentary constitutional design encourages legislators to subordinate their pursuits to their parties' broader interests. However, less-developed countries often lack the conditions for the nationally oriented parties that parliamentarism requires in order to thrive, due to such factors as sharp disparities in development across regions and income groups. Thus the provision of collective goods in such countries may be facilitated by the establishment of presidential executives, which can be delegated independent constitutional authority to structure the national policy process. Policy-making in these cases thus can be stylized as a presidency elected nationally and granted strong powers over legislation that partially counteract the particularistic tendencies of a fragmented legislature whose members remain close to their regional constituencies.

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Shugart, M.S. Presidentialism, Parliamentarism, and the Provision of Collective Goods in Less-Developed Countries. Constitutional Political Economy 10, 53–88 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009050515209

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Keywords

  • Presidential System
  • National Policy
  • Income Group
  • Policy Process
  • Collective Good