Tag Archives: president-parliamentary

Presidential power scores – ordinal rankings vs. continuous measures

Over at the Presidential Power blog, David Doyle and I have reported a set of presidential power scores. These scores provide a continuous measure of the power of directly and indirectly presidents on a range from 0 (weak) to 1 (strong).

Scores for almost all semi-presidential countries are included. You can see how there is great variation in the presidential power scores across the set of countries with a semi-presidential constitution. For example, you can see how Austria and Iceland are constitutionally president-parliamentary, but have very low presidential power scores. You can also see that some parliamentary regimes with indirectly elected presidents have higher presidential power scores than some semi-presidential regimes with directly elected presidents.

This confirms the idea that the definition of regime types is first and foremost a taxonomical exercise. We can systematically capture differences between regime types by referring solely to the combination of a very small number of constitutional provisions. However, presidential power in practice depends on more than this combination of factors. So, while regimes types may provide a basic ordinal ranking of the relative strength of presidents – presidential and president-parliamentary countries do indeed tend to have stronger presidents than premier-presidential countries, which, in turn, do indeed tend to have stronger presidents than parliamentary countries – this ranking masks considerable variation in presidential power within each regime type.

So, if you wish to examine empirically the impact of presidential power on some or other outcome, then you have to make a decision. Is it better to test for the effect of regime types in the knowledge that this is operationalising a taxonomy that captures a fairly crude ordinal ranking of presidential power but that still might allow you to say something about the effect of presidentialism and president-parliamentarism relative to premier-presidentialism etc, or is it better to test for the effect of presidential power scores that capture such power continuously and in a much more fine-grained way, but that doesn’t allow you to say anything about regime types? It depends on your theory, I suppose.

If you do choose to to test for the effect of continuous presidential power scores, then we recommend that you use the scores in Doyle and Elgie.

Semi-presidentialism, premier-presidentialism and president-parliamentarism – A new country-years dataset

This new dataset provides time-series, cross-sectional data for the presence of both semi-presidentialism and the two sub-types of semi-presidentialism – premier-presidentialism and president-parliamentarism – since 1900. The dataset uses the same country names, country years, and country ids. as the V-Dem data set, allowing them to be easily merged.

The dataset (v2.0) is available here.

There are two codings of semi-presidentialism in v2.0.

In sp1, semi-presidentialism is defined as the situation where a country’s constitution establishes both a directly (or popularly) elected president and a prime minister and cabinet that are collectively responsible to the legislature (Elgie 2011). This coding includes cases where a constitution requires a super-majority for the dismissal of the prime minister and cabinet by the legislature.

In sp2, semi-presidentialism is defined as the situation where a country’s constitution establishes both a directly (or popularly) elected president and a prime minister and cabinet that are collectively responsible to the legislature by no more than a vote of an absolute majority of one or more houses of the legislature. In other words, this coding excludes cases where the PM and government can be held collectively accountable only through a super-majority vote in the legislature.

In sp1, the following countries are classed as semi-presidential, whereas in sp2 they are not: Algeria (all years), Burkina Faso (1977-80), Burundi (1992-96), Cameroon (all years), Central African Republic (2016), Egypt (2007-11), Kyrgyzstan (1996-2007), Madagascar (all SP years since 1996), Mali (all years), Republic of Congo (2016), Rwanda (all years since 2003), Togo (all years), Tunisia (1989-2001), and Vietnam (all years).

The presence of semi-presidentialism (both sp1 and sp2) is coded as 1, its absence as 0. The start year is the year of the introduction of semi-presidentialism in the constitution if the date is on or before 30 June. If the start date is 1 July or later, then the following year is recorded as the first full year of semi-presidentialism. The end date is recorded for the year that the constitution ceased to be semi-presidential at whatever point in the year it ended. The end of semi-presidentialism is marked by a constitutional change. This can be a constitutional amendment introducing another type of system, or a suspension of the constitution.

This version also codes the premier-presidential and president-parliamentary sub-types of semi-presidentialism. The definitions are:

President-parliamentarism is a sub-type of semi-presidentialism where the prime minister and cabinet are collectively responsible to both the legislature and the president.
Premier-presidentialism is a sub-type of semi-presidentialism where the prime minister and cabinet are collectively responsible solely to the legislature.
These sub-types were first identified by Matthew Shugart and John Carey. The above definitions are consistent with Shugart and Carey (1992).

In the dataset, pp1 and pp2 code premier-presidenetialism as 1 and president-parliamentarism as 2. If a country is not semi-presidential, then the coding is 0. All pp1 codings are based on the definition of semi-presidentialism in sp1. All pp2 codings are based on the definition of semi-presidentialism in sp2.

If there are any mistakes, then please let me know (robert.elgie@dcu.ie). If there are any questions, please contact me at the same email.

Please cite the dataset as:

Robert Elgie (2018), Semi-presidentialism, premier-presidentialism and president-parliamentarism – A new country-years dataset [Blog post, 3 April]. Retrieved from http://presidential-power.com/?p=7869.

References

Elgie, R. (2011), Semi-presidentialism: Sub-Types and Democratic Performance, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Shugart, M. S. and J. M. Carey (1992), Presidents and Assemblies. Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.