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date: 15 October 2018

Abstract and Keywords

Bicameralism is easy to identify but hard to measure. The fact that a constitution specifies two legislative chambers often obscures rather than illuminates the relative influence of the respective chambers, how the necessity of negotiating across chambers affects the conduct of politics, or the extent to which consideration in a second chamber might alter legislative content. Moreover, studying bicameralism is problematic because, as with most political institutions, its effects emerge from processes that are often invisible to observers. Consequently, it can be difficult to identify fruitful avenues of research or to determine whether or how bicameralism matters at all. We build on previous studies of bicameralism and its effects to suggest first, areas of research that cry out for more careful consideration of bicameralism; and second, an index based on a working definition of and a measurement strategy for second-chamber powers—i.e. the extent to which bicameralism should matter.

Keywords: political institutions, bicameralism, constitutional design, legislative structure and process, political parties

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