Executive Control and Legislative Success

41 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2008 Last revised: 18 Aug 2012

Date Written: November 2009


The higher legislative success of parliamentary governments relative to presidential governments has been used to argue that legislative success is driven by parliamentary governments' superior agenda power or their control of legislative majorities. We show that this approach is at odds with some of the empirical regularities across and within political systems. We then propose a legislative bargaining model to elucidate this puzzle. In the model the policies of a confidence-dependent parliamentary government enjoy less uncertain support from governing coalition members, because their short-term policy goals are less important than the government's survival. This support is stronger when the government has more agenda power and is weaker with a larger ruling coalition. We explore the empirical implications of these findings and their consequences for the comparative study of political institutions.

Keywords: executive power, legislative success rates, legislative bargaining, confidence vote

JEL Classification: D72, D78, C72

Suggested Citation

Diermeier, Daniel and Vlaicu, Razvan, Executive Control and Legislative Success (November 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1118163 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1118163

Daniel Diermeier

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Razvan Vlaicu (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

University of Maryland ( email )

3114 Tydings Hall
College Park, MD 20742
United States

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