The calculus of consensus democracy : rethinking patterns of democracy without veto players

McGann, Anthony J. and Latner, Michael (2013) The calculus of consensus democracy : rethinking patterns of democracy without veto players. Comparative Political Studies, 46 (7). pp. 823-850. ISSN 0010-4140

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Abstract

We present a theory of comparative political institutions based on the concept of consensus democracy and social choice theory. Unlike Lijphart, we argue that consensus democracy is not a special form of democracy characterized by mutual vetoes, but rather the simplest form of democracy, which we refer to as PR-majority rule. We construct a typology of political institutions based on differences with this simple model. Contra Tsebelis's veto players approach, our theory predicts that PR-majority rule should be the most flexible form of democracy. We test this with data on overall patterns of government spending and on welfare state reform.