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Political institutions and their historical dynamics.

Sandberg, Mikael LU and Lundberg, Per LU (2012) In PLoS ONE 7(10).
Abstract
Traditionally, political scientists define political institutions deductively. This approach may prevent from discovery of existing institutions beyond the definitions. Here, a principal component analysis was used for an inductive extraction of dimensions in Polity IV data on the political institutions of all nations in the world the last two centuries. Three dimensions of institutions were revealed: core institutions of democracy, oligarchy, and despotism. We show that, historically and on a world scale, the dominance of the core institutions of despotism has first been replaced by a dominance of the core institutions of oligarchy, which in turn is now being followed by an increasing dominance by the core institutions of democracy.... (More)
Traditionally, political scientists define political institutions deductively. This approach may prevent from discovery of existing institutions beyond the definitions. Here, a principal component analysis was used for an inductive extraction of dimensions in Polity IV data on the political institutions of all nations in the world the last two centuries. Three dimensions of institutions were revealed: core institutions of democracy, oligarchy, and despotism. We show that, historically and on a world scale, the dominance of the core institutions of despotism has first been replaced by a dominance of the core institutions of oligarchy, which in turn is now being followed by an increasing dominance by the core institutions of democracy. Nations do not take steps from despotic, to oligarchic and then to democratic institutions, however. Rather, nations hosting the core democracy institutions have succeeded in historically avoiding both the core institutions of despotism and those of oligarchy. On the other hand, some nations have not been influenced by any of these dimensions, while new institutional combinations are increasingly influencing others. We show that the extracted institutional dimensions do not correspond to the Polity scores for autocracy, "anocracy" and democracy, suggesting that changes in regime types occur at one level, while institutional dynamics work on another. Political regime types in that sense seem "canalized", i.e., underlying institutional architectures can and do vary, but to a considerable extent independently of regime types and their transitions. The inductive approach adds to the deductive regime type studies in that it produces results in line with modern studies of cultural evolution and memetic institutionalism in which institutions are the units of observation, not the nations that acts as host for them. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
PLoS ONE
volume
7
issue
10
publisher
Public Library of Science
external identifiers
  • wos:000309454000011
  • pmid:23056219
  • scopus:84867034447
ISSN
1932-6203
DOI
10.1371/journal.pone.0045838
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
077c77d5-a122-480b-80bc-88bfe3776d48 (old id 3160846)
date added to LUP
2012-11-02 13:59:27
date last changed
2017-01-01 07:43:18
@article{077c77d5-a122-480b-80bc-88bfe3776d48,
  abstract     = {Traditionally, political scientists define political institutions deductively. This approach may prevent from discovery of existing institutions beyond the definitions. Here, a principal component analysis was used for an inductive extraction of dimensions in Polity IV data on the political institutions of all nations in the world the last two centuries. Three dimensions of institutions were revealed: core institutions of democracy, oligarchy, and despotism. We show that, historically and on a world scale, the dominance of the core institutions of despotism has first been replaced by a dominance of the core institutions of oligarchy, which in turn is now being followed by an increasing dominance by the core institutions of democracy. Nations do not take steps from despotic, to oligarchic and then to democratic institutions, however. Rather, nations hosting the core democracy institutions have succeeded in historically avoiding both the core institutions of despotism and those of oligarchy. On the other hand, some nations have not been influenced by any of these dimensions, while new institutional combinations are increasingly influencing others. We show that the extracted institutional dimensions do not correspond to the Polity scores for autocracy, "anocracy" and democracy, suggesting that changes in regime types occur at one level, while institutional dynamics work on another. Political regime types in that sense seem "canalized", i.e., underlying institutional architectures can and do vary, but to a considerable extent independently of regime types and their transitions. The inductive approach adds to the deductive regime type studies in that it produces results in line with modern studies of cultural evolution and memetic institutionalism in which institutions are the units of observation, not the nations that acts as host for them.},
  articleno    = {e45838},
  author       = {Sandberg, Mikael and Lundberg, Per},
  issn         = {1932-6203},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {10},
  publisher    = {Public Library of Science},
  series       = {PLoS ONE},
  title        = {Political institutions and their historical dynamics.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0045838},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2012},
}