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Improving Democracy Through Constitutional Reform: Some Swedish Lessons / Edition 1
     

Improving Democracy Through Constitutional Reform: Some Swedish Lessons / Edition 1

by Roger D. Congleton
 

ISBN-10: 1402074328

ISBN-13: 9781402074325

Pub. Date: 04/30/2003

Publisher: Springer US

Do constitutions matter? Are constitutions simply symbols of the political times at which they were adopted, or do they systematically affect the course of public policy? Are the policy crises of failing democracies the result of bad luck or of fundamental problems associated with the major and minor constitutional reforms adopted during their recent histories?

Overview

Do constitutions matter? Are constitutions simply symbols of the political times at which they were adopted, or do they systematically affect the course of public policy? Are the policy crises of failing democracies the result of bad luck or of fundamental problems associated with the major and minor constitutional reforms adopted during their recent histories?
The purpose of the present study is to address these questions using a blend of theory, history, and statistical analysis. The Swedish experience provides a nearly perfect laboratory in which to study the effects of constitutional reform. During the past 200 years, Swedish governance has shifted from a king-dominated system with an unelected four-chamber parliament to a bicameral legislature elected with wealth-weighted voting in 1866, and then to a new electoral system based on proportional representation and universal suffrage in 1920, and finally to a unicameral parliamentary system in 1970. All these radical reorganizations of Swedish governance were accomplished peacefully using formal amendment procedures established by previous constitutions.
Theoretical work in public choice and political science implies that constitutional changes affect political equilibria and, thereby, government policies. There is much evidence of these effects in Swedish history. The historical evidence suggests that Swedish constitutional reforms have profoundly affected governmental policy making, and, indirectly, Swedish economic performance. A contractarian normative analysis of the constitutional reforms themselves and of the consequences of those reforms suggests that Swedish governance has been substantially improved by constitutional reform, although additional improvements may still be possible.
By focusing on constitutional issues rather than Sweden's political history, this book extends our understanding of constitutional reform and parliamentary democracy in general.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402074325
Publisher:
Springer US
Publication date:
04/30/2003
Edition description:
2003
Pages:
236
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.36(d)

Table of Contents

Preface. 1. The Course of Reform. I: Constitutional Interests. 2. The Nature of Constitutions. Laws for Making Laws. 3. An Overview of Swedish Constitutional History. 4. Ideas and Interests in Constitution Reform. 5. The Consequences of Constitutional Reform. 6. Governance under Constraints. II: Perfecting Parliament. 7. Popular Sovereignty and Constitutional Design. 8. Essential Procedural Methods and Constraints for Parliament. 9. Constraining Parliamentary Democracy to Advance the Majority's Interest. 10. Organizing Governance to Broaden Consensus: Beyond Majority Rule. III: Swedish Lessons. 11. Appraising the Performance of the Swedish Constitution. 12. Constitutional Reforms of the 1970s and the Performance of Swedish Governance: Statistical Evidence. 13. Improving the Swedish Constitution. 14. Lessons Learned. References: Books. Articles. Data Appendices: A. Economic Data. B. Political Data. Index.

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