Subject: Institutions

April 2020, Volume 31, Issue 2

The Hard Truths of Brexit

The 2019 election ended years of turmoil over the United Kingdom’s relationship with the EU, but challenges to national unity and parliamentary sovereignty are only beginning to come to a head.

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October 2018, Volume 29, Issue 4

Democracy’s “Near Misses”

What factors help a democracy to survive a crisis? A study of cases in which democracy suffered a steep decline, yet ultimately recovered and endured, offers new insights. In moments of crisis, unelected and nonmajoritarian actors can play a pivotal role.

July 2018, Volume 29, Issue 3

Modernization and Authoritarianism

Embracing a new model of capitalist authoritarianism, a number of nondemocratic regimes have made startling gains in state capacity, posing a new challenge to the appeal and advance of liberal democracy.

January 2017, Volume 28, Issue 1

The Fading of the Anti-Coup Norm

Following the end of the Cold War, an international norm against coups began gaining strength, but it seems to have lost momentum in recent years. What has happened?

July 2016, Volume 27, Issue 3

The Assault on Postcommunist Courts

A number of countries in East-Central Europe are facing a grave crisis of constitutional democracy. As their governments seek to undermine the institutional limits on their power, constitutional courts have become a central target.

July 2015, Volume 26, Issue 3

The Medieval Roots of Democracy

Europe in the Middle Ages was hardly democratic, but it did have law-based institutions that could and did stay the hands of kings, laying a crucial basis for future state-building and democracy-building alike.

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April 2014, Volume 25, Issue 2

Ethnic Power Sharing: Three Big Problems

In severely divided societies, ethnic cleavages tend to produce ethnic parties and ethnic voting. Power-sharing institutions can ameliorate this problem, but attempts to establish such institutions, whether based on a consociational or a centripetal model, face formidable difficulties.

January 2014, Volume 25, Issue 1

Georgian Democracy: Seizing or Losing the Chance?

A year after the election that ended the rule of president Mikheil Saakashvili’s National Movement, Georgia has seen further remarkable developments that raise key questions for struggling postcommunist democracies and, indeed, democracies everywhere. 

October 2013, Volume 24, Issue 4

Democracy and the Quality of the State

What is the relationship between high-quality state administration and democracy? A look back at modern Greece and Italy, along with Germany and  the United States, provides some insights.

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July 2013, Volume 24, Issue 3

Kishore’s World

The widely hailed writings of Singapore’s Kishore Mahbubani, including his latest book, The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, reveal a remarkably narrow and Manichean worldview.

October 2012, Volume 23, Issue 4

European Disintegration? Markets, Institutions, and Legitimacy

There is a lively public debate in Europe over how to deal with the current crisis. Among the obstacles to overcome, economic diversity, populism, and the distribution of costs figure prominently. Although most now agree on what needs to be done, whether it will be politically feasible remains uncertain. 

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Islamist Parties and Democracy: Institutions Make the Difference

Political Islam is often cited as the key challenge to democratization in Muslim nations, but deep currents of authoritarianism may prove more of an obstacle. Traditions of monarchy, military rule, and weak civic institutions block the path of democratic transition throughout the Muslim world. Political Islam does of course present challenges of its own, such…

July 2008, Volume 19, Issue 3

Has the Northern Ireland Problem Been Solved?

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement provided a framework for peace and democracy in Northern Ireland. But it was a particular set of internal circumstances that allowed for the pact’s successful implementation.

January 2006, Volume 17, Issue 1

Russia: Authoritarianism Without Authority

Vladimir Putin has pulled the plug on democracy in Russia in an effort to strengthen the authority of the central state. But a look at Russian federal relations shows that the state is growing weaker rather than stronger.

April 2002, Volume 13, Issue 2

A New Look at Federalism: The Import of Institutions

A new research project suggests that federalism enhances the ability of regimes to accommodate territorially based minorities. Federal systems, except when imposed by an outside power, significantly help to preserve the peace.

January 2001, Volume 12, Issue 1

Democracy as a Starting Point

Democracy by itself does not put an end to injustice or inequality, but it establishes the most favorable conditions for making progress in the struggle to achieve a just society.

January 2001, Volume 12, Issue 1

Politics and Development

A review of Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-being in the World 1950-1990, by Adam Przeworski, Michael E. Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub, and Fernando Limongi.