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Reforming DemocracyInstitutional Engineering in Western Europe$
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Camille Bedock

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198779582

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198779582.001.0001

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To Reform or Not to Reform?

To Reform or Not to Reform?

The Determinants and Processes of Institutional Change in Established Democracies

(p.39) 2 To Reform or Not to Reform?
Reforming Democracy

Camille Bedock

Oxford University Press

This theoretical chapter presents the existing contributions in order to enable understanding of the determinants of democratic reforms, but also the processes leading to reform in established democracies. It focuses, first, on the sets of incentives and obstacles to change of the institutions: political crisis, political instability, and the state of the pre-existing institutional system. On the other hand, the research in this field has confirmed the existence of several barriers to change, the importance of taking the roles of complexity and uncertainty into account, and how the type of reform and the type of process leading to reform (or non-reform) are intrinsically linked. Second, this chapter shows that authors often fall into traps, of which there are several, and these mainly derive from the absence of cross-national and multidimensional data on institutional change: that reforms are rare, mainly self-interested, and tend to happen as isolated events.

Keywords:   determinants of reform, processes of reform, institutional change, electoral system change, established democracies

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