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date: 20 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how the organization of power and authority affects policy outcomes. The focus is on: (1) statutory law; (2) public spending; and (3) policy reversals. The empirical evidence suggests that, compared to prime ministers, presidents enjoy lower levels of legislative success. Yet, deadlocks or stalemates are rare events, even in the case of single-party minority governments under presidential democracies. Regarding public spending, the results suggest that one should look at governments’ partisan composition rather than constitutional structures. Government spending over GDP is lower in countries with single-minority governments. This is a common situation under presidentialism. As such, the negative relationship between presidentialism and public spending previously documented in the literature might be spurious. Finally, in terms of the connection between constitutional structures and policy reversals, there is a concrete policy choice: sovereign debt repayment. The analysis reveals that parliamentary democracies are less likely to reschedule their sovereign debts than presidential regimes.

Keywords: policymaking, democratic governance, presidentialism, parliamentarism, coalition government, legislative success, government spending, sovereign debt repayment

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