"It is often said that effective government requires a concentration of power. If we want our political leaders to adjust public policies to changing economic, social, and political circumstances, we should, in this view, leave our leaders alone: we should put in place electoral procedures that identify a clear winner in each election, and then we should let the winning political party govern without having to cooperate with others. The argument of this book is that this view is mistaken, since it seriously underestimates the ability of political decision makers to overcome democratic paralysis by compensating losers (groups that stand to lose from a reform). Reform capacity - the ability of political decision makers to adopt and implement policy changes that benefit society as a whole - can therefore be achieved in both power-concentration systems (which enable governments to ignore losers) and power-sharing systems (where governments build support for reform by compensating losers). If political decision makers are able to solve the bargaining problems that sometimes complicate negotiations between winners and losers, power-sharing systems have certain advantages over power-concentration systems. The book argues that power sharing can lead to high reform capacity in societies where interest groups are powerful enough to block reforms; the book also argues that power sharing can lead to high reform capacity when reforms have short-term costs and long-term benefits, since power sharing helps to correct some of the short-sightedness that is inherent in democratic policymaking."-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliography, etc. Note
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note
Cover; Reform Capacity; Copyright; Acknowledgments; Contents; List of Figures; List of Tables; 1: Two Theories of Effective Government; The Problem of Reform Capacity; Concentrating or Sharing Power; Institutions and Conflicts; Expediency and Justice; The Choices We Face; 2: Compensating the Losers; Compensation and Side Payments; Power Sharing, Compensation, Reform; Reforming Trade; Reforming Labor Markets; The Pitfalls and Promises of Power Sharing; Technical Appendix; The political system; Policy choices; If compensation is not possible; If compensation is possible; 3: How Reforms Fail. Dilution Costs and Deadweight CostsInternal Costs and Audience Costs; Reforms in the Low Countries; Commitment Problems; Coalition Governments and Government Debt; How Reforms Fail; Technical Appendix; If compensation is costly; The bureaucracy game; The election game; Measuring commitment potential; 4: Formal and Informal Power; Institutions and Interest Groups; Labor Market Reforms in Western Europe; Reforms and Protests in France; Failed reforms; Labor law and old-age pensions in neighboring countries; Successful reforms; French lessons; Unions, Institutions, and Political Strikes. A Realist's ViewTechnical Appendix; Regression results; 5: Future-Oriented Reforms; Democracy's Time Scale; Reforming Pension Systems; Reforming Tax Systems; Crises; A Time to Judge Every Deed; Technical Appendix; 6: Reform Capacity; Main Lessons; From Reform Capacity to Good Government; The Way We Live Now; Bibliography; Index.
Digital File Characteristics
Source of Description
Online resource; title from PDF title page (EBSCO, viewed July 14, 2017).