Stable Democracy and Good Governance in Divided Societies: Do Powersharing Institutions Work?

42 Pages Posted: 12 May 2005  

Pippa Norris

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); University of Sydney

Date Written: February 2005

Abstract

Consociational theory suggests that power-sharing institutions have many important consequences, not least that they are most likely to facilitate accommodation and cooperation among leadership elites, making them most suitable for states struggling to achieve stable democracy and good governance in divided societies. This study compares a broad cross-section of countries worldwide, including many multiethnic states, to investigate the impact of formal power-sharing institutions (PR electoral systems and federalism) on several indicators of democratic stability and good governance. The research demonstrates three main findings: (i) worldwide, power-sharing constitutions combining PR and federalism remain relatively rare (only 13 out of 191 states); (ii) federalism was found to be unrelated to any of the indicators of good governance under comparison; and (iii) PR electoral systems, however, were positively related to some indicators of good governance, both worldwide and in multiethnic states. This provides strictly limited support for the larger claims made by consociational theory. Nevertheless, the implications for policymakers suggest that investing in basic human development is a consistently more reliable route to achieve stable democracy and good governance than constitutional design alone.

Keywords: Electoral Politics, Human Rights, International Development, Political Science

Suggested Citation

Norris, Pippa, Stable Democracy and Good Governance in Divided Societies: Do Powersharing Institutions Work? (February 2005). KSG Working Paper No. RWP05-014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=722626 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.722626

Pippa Norris (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1475 (Phone)
617-496-2850 (Fax)

University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006
Australia

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
896
rank
23,309
Abstract Views
3,512
PlumX