Democratic legislative institutions: a comparative view by David M. Olson

By David M. Olson

This article summarizes the learn on, and reports of, democratic legislatures world wide. It specializes in what legislatures are and what they do - as either outcome of and contributor to democratic self-government.

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Neither one-party elections of dictatorships nor an inert collection of passive persons called legislatures have much in common with these vital ingredients of democratic self-governance. '' The subject of this bookhow the world's relatively few democratic legislatures typically are organized and how they function in practicehas become a topic of vital current importance in the new democracies. Both citizens and political elites of the new democracies ask how established democracies get things done.

This relative shift from district to nation and from district service to legislation may be, in part, a function of the greater electoral safety of senior members over freshmen (Davidson 1969). This shift can also be regarded as part of the learning experience. While in office, the member learns his or her district, learns how to work with its active citizens and groups, and also learns how to act in office on legislation in ways that are consistent with the policy views and electoral circumstances of the district.

They have all conspired to make me both better fed and less ignorant than when. S. Franks, Canada. The intellectual perspective of this book is most clearly summarized in the last chapter. That chapter, in turn, rests upon a long series of conferences organized through and partially funded by several organizations, none of which should be held responsible for the contents of this book: the Legislative Specialists Research Committee of the International Political Science Association, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Duke University, the North American Federalism Project at the University of California, Berkeley, and the Graduate Research Council of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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