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September 8, 2006

Comparative Politics Proseminar: Samuels

The Comparative Politics Proseminar will kick off its fall schedule with a talk by David Samuels. The talk will be held in the 14th floor lounge on Tuesday, September 12, 12:40-2:00pm.

David will be presenting a paper co-authored with Matthew Shugart from UCSD: "Presidents, Prime Ministers, and Parties: A Neo-Madisonian Theory of Party Organization and Behavior." The paper is attached. David will give a 30-minute presentation, after which we'll open the floor for discussion. The abstract of the paper is appended below. Hope to see you there!

Abstract: Although most of the world's democracies have directly elected presidents, scholars have largely ignored the possibility that differences in the degree of separation of executive and legislative powers might affect party origins, organization, and behavior. This paper develops a new, general theory of political parties, based on principles derived in part from the Federalist Papers. Our "Neo-Madisonian" approach suggests that the ways in which the institutions of government channel political ambition profoundly shape how political parties solve collective action and delegation problems. In short, the separation or fusion of executive and legislative powers affects the fundamental activities parties undertake in important ways. In this paper we lay out the assumptions of our theory, place the collective action and delegation problems parties confront in perspective of different democratic institutional formats, and derive testable hypotheses that will illuminate key differences across parties around the world in terms of leadership selection and delegation, electoral coordination problems, and governing dilemmas.