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Controlling Governments
Voters, Institutions, and Accountability

Part of Cambridge Studies in the Theory of Democracy

Belén Barreiro, Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, Sonia Alonso, Paloma Aguilar, Marta Fraile, José María Maravall, Alberto Penadés, Alicia Adserá, Carles Boix
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  • Date Published: February 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521711104


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About the Authors
  • How much influence do citizens have to control the government? What guides voters at election time? Why do governments survive? How do institutions modify the power of the people over politicians? The book combines academic analytical rigor with comparative analysis to identify how much information voters must have to select a politician for office, or for holding a government accountable; whether parties in power can help voters to control their governments; how different institutional arrangements influence voters' control; why politicians choose particular electoral systems; and what economic and social conditions may undermine not only governments, but democracy. Arguments are backed by vast macro and micro empirical evidence. There are cross-country comparisons and survey analyses of many countries. In every case there has been an attempt to integrate analytical arguments and empirical research. The goal is to shed new light on perplexing questions of positive democratic theory.

    • Integrates sophisticated theoretical analysis with rigorous empirical research
    • Chapters provide exceptionally rich empirical evidence for the comparative analysis of democracies, not just the U.S., and over time
    • Chapters are tightly integrated; this cross-fertilization expands the theoretical and empirical contribution of the book to democratic theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'The chapters in Controlling Governments are coherent and well argued, and the arguments are well defended. In fact, it reads like a special issue of a journal …' Political Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521711104
    • length: 326 pages
    • dimensions: 227 x 151 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.442kg
    • contains: 60 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Explaining the electoral performance of incumbents in democracies Belén Barreiro
    2. How can governments be accountable if voters vote ideologically? Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca
    3. Enduring ethnicity: the political survival of incumbent ethnic parties in western democracies Sonia Alonso
    4. Performance or representation? The determinants of voting in complex political contexts Paloma Aguilar and Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca
    5. Political knowledge and the logic of voting: a comparative study Marta Fraile
    6. The political consequences of internal party democracy José María Maravall
    7. Choosing rules for government: the institutional preferences of early Socialist parties Alberto Penadés
    8. Constitutions and democratic breakdowns Alicia Adserá and Carles Boix.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Seminar in Comparative Political Institutions
  • Editors

    José María Maravall, Juan March Institute, Madrid
    José María Maravall is the Director of the Center for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Juan March Institute (Madrid). He is also a Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid), an Honorary Fellow of St. Antony's College (Oxford University), and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He holds doctorates from the universities of Madrid and Oxford. He was a socialist member of Parliament and Minister of Education and Science from 1982 to 1988. His previous publications include Economic Reforms in New Democracies (1993); Regimes, Politics, and Markets (1997); and (with A. Przeworski) Democracy and the Rule of Law (2003).

    Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, Juan March Institute, Madrid
    Ignacio Sanchez-Cuenca is Professor of Political Science at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Juan March Institute (Madrid). He is also Associate Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid). He has been the Rice Visiting Associate Professor at Yale University, Visiting Scholar at New York University, and has held positions at Universidad Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and University of Salamanca. He has published three books in Spanish; articles in journals such as Government and Opposition; Party Politics; European Union Politics; and the European Journal of Sociology; as well as several Spanish journals. He also has chapters in several edited volumes, including Democracy and the Rule of Law (2003), edited by J. M. Maravall and A. Przeworski.


    Belén Barreiro, Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, Sonia Alonso, Paloma Aguilar, Marta Fraile, José María Maravall, Alberto Penadés, Alicia Adserá, Carles Boix

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