Consensus Democracy and Institutional Change

  • Paul Pennings


The institutional environment is a crucial determinant of political and socioeconomic actors’ room to manoeuvre. In plural societies, with many competing parties, there are often no clear majorities in decision-making bodies, which means that the main political parties are forced to reach agreement on the basis of compromise. In homogeneous countries, however, it is more likely that a single party, having the majority, will govern the country. The distinction between a majoritarian type of democracy and consensus democracy is, therefore, considered to be a relevant and useful one in understanding the patterned variations in policy formation and policy performance from a cross-national perspective. Moreover, since the working of democratic institutions is not constant over time we have to focus on the interactions between actors and institutions and their effects on the policy-making process in order to assess the impact of the organisation of majoritarian versus consensus democracy.


Institutional Change Electoral System Political Elite Party System Policy Performance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Pennings

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations