This introductory chapter defines the questions and goals of the study, and provides a brief overview on the state of research regarding the performance of democracies. It seeks to answer two questions: Is the effectiveness of western democracies in decline and do institutions matter for political effectiveness? The continuous decline in the effectiveness of democratic systems was a prominent theme in various crisis theories (ungovernability, legitimation crisis) since the 1970s. Since the early 1990s, it has been taken up by globalization theories. The assertion that institutions matter for political performance reaches back to the emergence of the —new institutionalism— in the early 1980s. The most relevant precursor for this study of the performance of democracies is Arend Lijphart’s Patterns of Democracy (1999). His book along with other contributions from the fields of comparative public policy and comparative sociology on the quality of life is used to clarify the contribution of this study on the institutional basis of political performance, and to elaborate to what extent it goes beyond the current state of research.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.