Decision-making potential and ‘detailed’ legislation of Western European parliamentary governments (1990–2013)

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Series Details Vol.15, No.2, March 2017, p157–179
Publication Date March 2017
ISSN 1472-4790
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The first and foremost task of all governments is to make decisions. Consequently, studies on governments should deal above all with their ability to produce legislation. To this respect, this article analyses the legislative productivity of 112 parliamentary governments in 12 Western European democracies (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom) from 1990 to 2013.

My independent variable is an index offering an immediate picture of the decision-making potential of parliamentary governments, while the dependent variable is the ‘detailed’ legislative production of those governments. If we are able to differentiate between governments who decide, and governments who do not, we could answer a considerable number of interesting questions: which Western European parliamentary democracies tend to produce more (detailed) laws and which – on the contrary – are used to facing greater difficulties for achieving that goal? What are the reasons behind these opposing trends? The empirical results largely confirms that the more a parliamentary government has got decision-making potential (in terms of the proposed index), the more likely it will pass ‘detailed’ legislation.

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