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The Performance of DemocraciesPolitical Institutions and Public Policy$
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Edeltraud Roller

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199286423

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199286426.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
The Performance of Democracies

Edeltraud Roller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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.

Keywords:   performance, democracy, political institutions, effectiveness, globalization, outcomes, oil crisis, ungovernability, legitimation crisis, OECD countries

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