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Department of Political Science

Matthew Wilson’s new article compares legislative powers across political regimes.

In the newly published paper “Contested or established? A comparison of legislative powers across regimes” in the journal Democratization, South Carolina’s Matthew Wilson, together with Josef Woldense, take a descriptive approach to elaborate on the ways in which legislatures vary and to demonstrate the value of further examining processes of legislative strengthening and weakening in non-democratic and democratizing regimes. Using information from the Varieties of Democracy Project on the de jure and de facto capabilities of legislatures between 1900 and 2017, they describe the ways in which legislatures differ across regions and across levels of democracy. They find support for distinguishing between contested and established dictatorships based on legislative strength and show that changes in legislative powers tend to be piecemeal. The study illustrates ways in which scholars can use specific legislative powers to characterize the bargaining process between the leader and congress and to develop empirical models concerning legislative institutionalization and their effects in non-democracies.

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