Parliamentary Democracy: Promise and Problems

Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller and Torbjörn Bergman

in Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies

Published in print November 2003 | ISBN: 9780198297840
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191602016 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Parliamentary Democracy: Promise and Problems

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Parliamentary government is the most common way to organize delegation and accountability in contemporary democracies. Parliamentary government is a system of government in which the prime minister and his or her cabinet are accountable to any majority of the members of parliament and can be voted out of office by the latter. Parliamentary democracy is a chain of delegation and accountability, from the voters to the ultimate policy makers, in which at each link (stage), a principal (in whom authority is originally) delegates to an agent, whom the principal has conditionally authorized to act in his or her name and place. The parliamentary chain of delegation is characterized by indirectness and singularity (i.e. at each link of the parliamentary chain, a single principal delegates to a single agent). At each stage of this chain, delegation problems (such as adverse selection and moral hazard) can occur.

Keywords: accountability; adverse selection; agency problems; delegation; history of parliamentarism moral hazard; parliamentarism; parliamentary democracy; parliamentary government; presidentialism

Chapter.  15076 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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