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Bini Smaghi vs. the Parties: Representative Government and Institutional Constraints


  • Peter Mair


Although it is generally seen as desirable that parties in government are both responsive and responsible, these two characteristics are now in increasing tension with one another. Prudence and consistency in government, as well as accountability, requires that governments conform to external constraints and past legacies, and not just answer to public opinion, and while these external constraints and legacies have grown in weight in recent years, public opinion, in its turn, has become harder and harder for governments to read and process. Meanwhile, because of changes in their organizations and in their relationship with civil society, parties in government are no longer in a position to bridge or ‘manage’ this gap, or even to persuade voters to accept it as a necessary element in political life. This problem is illustrated by extensive reference to the current fiscal crisis in Ireland, and is also used to question some of the assumptions that are involved in principal-agent treatments of the parliamentary chain of delegation.

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  • Peter Mair, 2011. "Bini Smaghi vs. the Parties: Representative Government and Institutional Constraints," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 22, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0285

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Börzel, Tanja A.; Risse, Thomas, 2000. "When Europe Hits Home: Europeanization and Domestic Change," European Integration online Papers (EIoP), European Community Studies Association Austria (ECSA-A), vol. 4, November.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:99:y:2005:i:03:p:347-359_05 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Mair, Peter, 2009. "Representative versus responsible government," MPIfG Working Paper 09/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    4. Streeck, Wolfgang, 2007. "Endgame? The Fiscal Crisis of the German State," MPIfG Discussion Paper 07/7, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    5. Andeweg, Rudy B., 2003. "Beyond representativeness? Trends in political representation," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 11(02), pages 147-161, May.
    6. Ruggie, John Gerard, 1997. "Globalization and the embedded liberalism compromise: The end of an era?," MPIfG Working Paper 97/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    7. Richard Rose, 1990. "Inheritance Before Choice in Public policy," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 2(3), pages 263-291, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Maatsch, Aleksandra, 2017. "Effectiveness of the European semester: Explaining domestic consent and contestation," MPIfG Discussion Paper 17/6, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    2. Dorothee Bohle, 2017. "Mortgaging Europe’s periphery," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 124, European Institute, LSE.

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