Taking the multidimensionality of democracy seriously: institutional patterns and the quality of democracy

Bernauer, Julian; Bühlmann, Marc; Vatter, Adrian; Germann, Micha (2016). Taking the multidimensionality of democracy seriously: institutional patterns and the quality of democracy. European political science review, 8(3), pp. 473-494. Cambridge University Press 10.1017/S1755773915000132

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Democracies come in all shapes and sizes. Which configuration of political institutions produces the highest democratic quality is a notorious debate. The lineup of contenders includes ‘consensus’, ‘Westminster’, and ‘centripetal’ democracy. A trend in the evaluation of the relationship between empirical patterns of democracy and its quality is that the multidimensional nature of both concepts is increasingly taken into account. This article tests the assertion that certain centripetal configurations of proportionality in party systems and government, and unitarism in the remaining state structure, might outperform all other alternatives both in terms of inclusiveness and effectiveness. Analyzing 33 democracies, the results of interactive regression models only partially support this claim. Proportional–unitary democracies have the best track record in terms of representation, but there are little differences in participation, transparency, and government capability compared with other models.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Bernauer, Julian; Bühlmann, Marc and Vatter, Adrian


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Cambridge University Press




Marc Bühlmann

Date Deposited:

02 May 2016 15:04

Last Modified:

14 Sep 2017 04:16

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

patterns of democracy, consensus democracy, majoritarian democracy, quality of democracy, centripetalism





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