Reactive, Slow and...Innovative? Decision-making Structures and Policy Outputs

Fischer, Manuel (2015). Reactive, Slow and...Innovative? Decision-making Structures and Policy Outputs. In: Sciarini, Pascal; Fischer, Manuel; Traber, Denise (eds.) Political Decision-Making in Switzerland. The Consensus Model under Pressure. Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century (pp. 219-237). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan UK 10.1057/9781137508607_11

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Consensus democracies like Switzerland are generally known to have a low innovation capacity (Lijphart 1999). This is due to the high number of veto points such as perfect bicameralism or the popular referendum. These institutions provide actors opposing a policy with several opportunities to block potential policy change (Immergut 1990; Tsebelis 2002). In order to avoid a failure of a process because opposing actors activate veto points, decision-making processes in Switzerland tend to integrate a large number of actors with different - and often diverging - preferences (Kriesi and Trechsel 2008). Including a variety of actors in a decision-making process and taking into account their preferences implies important trade-offs. Integrating a large number of actors and accommodating their preferences takes time and carries the risk of resulting in lowest common denominator solutions. On the contrary, major innovative reforms usually fail or come only as a result of strong external pressures from either the international environment, economic turmoil or the public (Kriesi 1980: 635f.; Kriesi and Trechsel 2008; Sciarini 1994). Standard decision-making processes are therefore characterized as reactive, slow and capable of only marginal adjustments (Kriesi 1980; Kriesi and Trechsel 2008; Linder 2009; Sciarini 2006). This, in turn, may be at odds with the rapid developments of international politics, the flexibility of the private sector, or the speed of technological development.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)

Division/Institute:

03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Other Institutions > Teaching Staff, Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Fischer, Manuel and Fischer, Manuel

Subjects:

300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science

ISBN:

978-1-349-70160-5

Series:

Challenges to Democracy in the 21st Century

Publisher:

Palgrave Macmillan UK

Language:

English

Submitter:

Jeremy Simeon Trottmann

Date Deposited:

19 Jul 2016 12:43

Last Modified:

19 Jul 2016 13:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1057/9781137508607_11

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Democracy, European Politics, European Union Politics, Political Philosophy, Political Sociology, Political Theory

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/82814

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