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Research on semi-presidentialism has made significant strides forward during the past decades, not least in terms of institutional dynamics and executive-legislative relations. Yet, in a meta-analysis of this sub-field, Åberg and Sedelius (2018) identify a number of existing gaps. Among these, they call for a (re)discovering of historical-institutional traits and contextual variation of institutional choice. In the wake of the third wave transitions in the 1980s and 1990s and the New Institutionalism paradigm, such approaches were indeed high on the agenda (e.g. Elster 1996; Frye 1997; Lijphart & Waisman 1996) but has since become less common (with notable exceptions such as Jung & Deering 2015). Considering both institutional continuity and change across semi-presidential and presidential regimes in recent decades, what empirical and theoretical lessons can be learned about institutional choice and origin?
This panel comprises comparative papers – large N-analyses, focused comparisons, and case studies – that approach institutional origin, choice and pathways across time and space in semi-presidential and presidential regimes. Besides fundamental institutional basics such as constitutional regime types, we also discuss studies that account for other key institutional choices and their significance for political outcomes.
Åberg, J. and T. Sedelius (2018). Review Article: A Structured Review of Semi-Presidential Studies: Debates, Results and Missing Pieces. British Journal of Political Science, First View, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123418000017.
Elster, J. (1996). The Role of Institutional Interests in Eastern European Constitution-Making: Explaining Legislative Dominance. East European Constitutional Review 5 (6): 63-65
Frye, T. (1997). A Politics of Institutional Choice: Post-Communist Presidencies. Comparative Political Studies 30 (5): 523-552
Jung, J. K., & Deering, C. J. (2015). Constitutional Choices: Uncertainty and Institutional Design in Democratizing Nations. International Political Science Review, 36(1), 60-77.
Lijphart, A. & C. H. Waisman (eds.) (1996). Institutional Design in New Democracies: Eastern Europe and Latin America. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.