Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work

Front Cover
Princeton University Press, Sep 15, 2002 - Political Science - 317 pages
0 Reviews

Political scientists have long classified systems of government as parliamentary or presidential, two-party or multiparty, and so on. But such distinctions often fail to provide useful insights. For example, how are we to compare the United States, a presidential bicameral regime with two weak parties, to Denmark, a parliamentary unicameral regime with many strong parties? Veto Players advances an important, new understanding of how governments are structured. The real distinctions between political systems, contends George Tsebelis, are to be found in the extent to which they afford political actors veto power over policy choices. Drawing richly on game theory, he develops a scheme by which governments can thus be classified. He shows why an increase in the number of "veto players," or an increase in their ideological distance from each other, increases policy stability, impeding significant departures from the status quo.

Policy stability affects a series of other key characteristics of polities, argues the author. For example, it leads to high judicial and bureaucratic independence, as well as high government instability (in parliamentary systems). The propositions derived from the theoretical framework Tsebelis develops in the first part of the book are tested in the second part with various data sets from advanced industrialized countries, as well as analysis of legislation in the European Union. Representing the first consistent and consequential theory of comparative politics, Veto Players will be welcomed by students and scholars as a defining text of the discipline.

From the preface to the Italian edition:

"Tsebelis has produced what is today the most original theory for the understanding of the dynamics of contemporary regimes. . . . This book promises to remain a lasting contribution to political analysis."--Gianfranco Pasquino, Professor of Political Science, University of Bologna

 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

VETO PLAYERS THEORY
17
Individual Veto Players
19
Collective Veto Players
38
VETO PLAYERS AND INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS
65
Regimes Nondemocratic Presidential and Parliamentary
67
Governments and Parliaments
91
Referendums
116
Federalism Bicameralism and Qualified Majorities
136
Macroeconomic Policies
187
SYSTEMIC EFFECTS OF VETO PLAYERS
207
Government Stability
209
Judiciary and Bureaucracies
222
Veto Players Analysis of European Union Institutions
248
Conclusion
283
Bibliography
291
Index
309

POLICY EFFECTS OF VETO PLAYERS
161
Legislation
165

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 10 - Pericles indeed, by his rank, ability, and known integrity, was enabled to exercise an independent control over the multitude — in short, to lead them instead of being led by them; for as he never sought power by improper means, he was never compelled to flatter them, but, on the contrary, enjoyed so high an estimation that he could afford to anger them by contradiction.
Page 7 - Rockman (1993: 6) distinguish 10 different capabilities that all governments need: to set and maintain priorities among the many conflicting demands made upon them so that they are not overwhelmed and bankrupted; to target resources where they are most effective; to innovate when old policies have failed; to coordinate conflicting objectives into a coherent whole; to be able to impose losses on powerful groups; to represent diffuse, unorganized interests in addition to concentrated...

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

George Tsebelis is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of "Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics" and coauthor of "Bicameralism." The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Hoover National Fellowship, and a Russell Sage Fellowship, he has published numerous papers on the institutions of the European Union and on comparative institutional analysis.

Bibliographic information