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date: 17 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Scholars use a variety of methods to study and compare legislatures around the world. Some studies concentrate on what legislatures do and others are more concerned with how they do it. Based on many of these analyses, a typology or classification scheme has been developed to group legislatures into various categories. However, classification schemes do not provide a comprehensive theoretical explanation of why legislatures are of one type or another. The profusion of terms such as assembly, congress, or parliament, which are often used interchangeably with the term legislature, has made comparative study of legislatures more complicated. This chapterreviews the primary typologies and classification schemes still used in the study of legislatures and proposes a coherent theoretical framework that focuses more on why legislatures differ. The framework provides a classification scheme to allow easy comparisons and a theoretical explanation of legislative power that is flexible enough to explain changes in power and influence over time, even in the absence of systemic institutional change. The chapteralso explains how the relative autonomy of a legislature can influence the policy-making process.

Keywords: legislatures, classification schemes, typologies, legislative power, autonomy, policy-making, assembly, congress, parliament

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