George Tsebelis

George Tsebelis
University of Michigan | U-M · Department of Political Science

PhD Political Science from Washington University S

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105
Publications
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Publications

Publications (105)
Article
Full-text available
We examine the mechanical effect of a multiple vote, proportional representation electoral system on party vote share in n dimensions. In one dimension, Cox (1990) has proven that such a system is centripetal: it drives parties to the center of the political spectrum. However, as populism has swept across Western Europe and the United States, the i...
Article
Full-text available
Constitutional amendment rules have traditionally been considered the most important part of a constitution. Nevertheless, recent empirical analyses argue that constitutional amendment rules do not matter at all. This dispute is due to the misuse of independent and dependent variables and inappropriate methodology. Using the Veto Players approach t...
Article
The paper analyzes the amendment provisions of the Chilean Constitution and finds them unusual in a comparative perspective. It explains their peculiarity from the historical conditions of their original adoption in 1925. It finds the amendment provisions too difficult to overcome, particularly because of the (justified) intentions of complete repl...
Article
The issue of divisive referendums, which Professor Frey identifies as one of the problems of “Democracy of the Future”, is a special case of emerging tribalism (division into non-communicating competitive groups in political and social life). This article proposes an alternative institutional solution to address tribalism in both direct and represe...
Preprint
We examine the mechanical effect of a multiple-vote, proportional representation electoral system on party vote share in n dimensions. In one dimension, Cox (1990) has proven that such a system is centripetal: it drives parties to the center of the political spectrum. However, as populism has swept across Western Europe and the United States, the i...
Article
This article analyses the mechanisms establishing time consistency of constitutions. It explains why shorter and more locked constitutions are more likely to be time consistent (change less) and that long constitutions are more time inconsistent (change more, despite locking). Empirical evidence from all of the democratic countries in the world ind...
Article
The article examines the content of the constitutional amendments with respect to the Senate. While symmetric bicameralism would be abolished with respect to policymaking, it would be preserved and even exacerbated with respect to constitutional revisions. The consequences of the first would be a reduction of the number of institutional veto player...
Book
In this volume, twelve experts on Latin American politics investigate the ways in which the interaction between legislative institutions and the policy positions of key actors affects the initiation and passage of legislation, covering seven Latin American Countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. These seven preside...
Article
There are two features of the Greek crisis that need explanation: the lopsided outcome where Greece did not achieve any of its stated goals; and the protracted negotiations. I explain these two features as results of two factors: Nested Games (the Greek prime minister was also involved in a game inside his own party); and incomplete information (th...
Article
At the beginning of 2012, the 17 countries of the eurozone and eight of the ten remaining countries of the EU reached an agreement on the Treaty on Stability, Co-ordination, and Governance in the Economic and Monetary Union (TSCG, known as the Fiscal Compact). The article traces six successive drafts of the agreement to discover how these countries...
Article
This article starts with two empirical observations from Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries about longer constitutions: (1) they are more rigid (that is, more difficult to amend) and (2) they are in practice more frequently amended. The study presents models of the frequently adopted rules for constitutional revision (...
Article
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Coalition theories have produced arguments about the importance of party positions for participation in government coalitions, but have not connected the existing government institutions (in particular agenda setting) with the coalition government that will be formed. This article presents a veto players’ approach to coalition formation, which push...
Article
The European Union (EU) has tried to bridge decisionmaking by qualified majority and unanimity over the years by expanding qualified majorities (consensus) or by making unanimities easier to achieve. I call this decisionmaking procedure q-‘unanimity’ and trace its history from the Luxembourg Compromise to the Lisbon Treaty, and to more recent agree...
Article
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This paper focuses on the coalition formation process in presidential systems. It shows that institutions and party positions influence the formation of government coalitions. It argues that presidents will tend to include in their cabinets parties that are politically close to their own policy positions, and will be more inclined to do so when Con...
Book
Full-text available
For decades the European Union tried changing its institutions, but achieved only unsatisfying political compromises and modest, incremental treaty revisions. In late 2009, however, the EU was successfully reformed through the Treaty of Lisbon.Reforming the European Unionexamines how political leaders ratified this treaty against all odds and shows...
Chapter
This chapter compares the policy and political outcomes that followed from the institutional structures generated by the European Convention, the Treaty of Lisbon, and the default outcome of a failure of negotiations during the process of European integration, the Treaty of Nice. The institutions produced under these different arrangements empowere...
Chapter
This concluding chapter summarizes key themes and considers the implications of the Treaty of Lisbon both generally and specifically against the background of Europe's future policy agenda. It argues that under the rules of the Treaty of Lisbon, Europe is better prepared than it would be under the Treaty of Nice. The Lisbon reforms are likely to he...
Book
For decades the European Union tried changing its institutions, but achieved only unsatisfying political compromises and modest, incremental treaty revisions. In late 2009, however, the EU was successfully reformed through the Treaty of Lisbon. This book examines how political leaders ratified this treaty against all odds and shows how this victory...
Chapter
This chapter describes how the first procedural impossibility of reforming European institutions was removed. It examines how the Convention leadership was able to structure an unprecedented constitutional process to reach a timely and successful outcome. Given that even intergovernmental conferences, despite months of preparations, sometimes fail...
Book
For decades the European Union tried changing its institutions, but achieved only unsatisfying political compromises and modest, incremental treaty revisions. In late 2009, however, the EU was successfully reformed through the Treaty of Lisbon. Reforming the European Union examines how political leaders ratified this treaty against all odds and sho...
Article
The Handbook focuses particularly on how the development of EU law negotiates the tension between market integration, national sovereignty and political democracy. The book begins with chapters examining constitutional issues, while further chapters address the establishment of a single market. The volume also addresses sovereign debt problems by p...
Article
This paper focuses on the process of coalition formation in presidential systems. It shows that party positions and institutions influence the formation of government coalitions. We argue that presidents will tend to include parties positioned close to their policy positions in their cabinets, and will be more inclined to do it when relative instit...
Chapter
Some months ago I had the honor to be invited to Mannheim for a conference organized by Thomas Koenig and Marc Debus. The subject matter was “Reform Processes and Policy Change,” and the organizers thought that my book Veto Players would be a good starting point for their study. I thought that the conference was an excellent idea, particularly sinc...
Article
Full-text available
The existing literature on the relationship between globalization and welfare programs has been divided into neo-liberal (economics) and compensation (political science) theses, which have produced theoretically contradictory expectations and mixed empirical results. This paper not only combines the theoretical arguments of these two literatures, b...
Article
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This study introduces a variable reflecting veto players into an international conflict model. As our title suggests, the inclusion of this variable dissolves the standard measure of democracy which currently dominates the literature on the democratic peace. Through the development of a new conceptual approach, and an empirical study strengthened b...
Chapter
If one looks back on the contributions of institutional analysis to political science, two findings come to one’s mind: Duverger’s (1954; French original 1951) laws on the impact of electoral systems and the importance of agenda setting (paternity of this idea is difficult to attribute, but it probably belongs to McKelvey 1976). Döring’s major cont...
Article
After the referendums in France and the Netherlands, the European Union was in disarray. However, political elites in all countries were insisting in the adoption of the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe, which in turn was a slight modification of the text adopted in the European Convention. The solution was found in the IGC of Brussels...
Article
Full-text available
This paper focuses on the process of coalition formation in presidential systems. It shows that party positions and institutions influence the formation of government coalitions. We argue that presidents will tend to include parties positioned close to their policy positions in their cabinets, and will be more inclined to do it when relative instit...
Article
Full-text available
Nine out of 27 presidents in the former communist world have the power to amend vetoed legislation. These presidential powers in the former Soviet Bloc have not been given adequate attention in the comparative politics literature. The authors analyze veto procedures in the excommunist region (27 countries) and argue that amendatory veto power enhan...
Article
We argue that the success of the European Convention in producing a Constitutional Treaty was possible because of the agenda control exercised by the Praesidium and in particular its President. Given that even Intergovernmental Conferences despite months of preparations sometimes fail to produce any results, the failure of negotiations in the Conve...
Article
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Ten Latin American presidents have a power that has not received the study that it deserves: the ability to make positive suggestions to vetoed bills. These “amendatory observations” return to Congress for afinalround of voting. Sometimes the presidential version of the bill becomes the default alternative automatically and may require qualified ma...
Article
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In this paper, we expand and update the Kim-Fording (1998, 2001b, 2002) measures of party, voter, and government ideology. Further we develop new measures of parliament ideology based on the measure of party ideology developed by Kim and Fording. These measures allow comparisons of various ideologies across different countries and across different...
Article
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This paper examines the origins of amendatory vetoes in Latin America and shows why presidents' ability to present a redrafted bill after congressional passage gives them considerable power to affect legislation. The paper begins with a historical account that illustrates the workings of amendatory observations in nineteenth-century Latin America—t...
Article
  This article tests expectations generated by the veto players theory with respect to the over time composition of budgets in a multidimensional policy space. The theory predicts that countries with many veto players (i.e., coalition governments, bicameral political systems, presidents with veto) will have difficulty altering the budget structures...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes and tests a new formal model of the competition for capital, using the analogy of a “tournament” as a substitute for the ”race-to-the-bottom” model. Our key insight is that political costs that accompany legislating have both direct and indirect effects on the likelihood and scale of reforms. While countries with higher politica...
Article
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We present a unified model of the politics of the European Union(EU). We focus on the effects of the EU s changing treaty base from thefounding Rome Treaty (ratified in 1958) to the Single European Act (SEA,1987), the Maastricht Treaty on European Union (1993), and the AmsterdamTreaty (1999) on the relations among its three supranationalinstitution...
Book
Political scientists have long classified systems of government as parliamentary or presidential, two-party or multiparty, and so on. But such distinctions often fail to provide useful insights. For example, how are we to compare the United States, a presidential bicameral regime with two weak parties, to Denmark, a parliamentary unicameral regime...
Article
The Treaty of Nice introduced a triple majority requirement for Council decisions. In order to be valid, Council decisions require not only a qualified majority (slightly larger than before), but also an absolute majority of Member States and, at a country's request, a 62 per cent majority of the total population of EU countries. We explain why thi...
Article
The Treaty of Nice introduced a triple majority requirement for Council decisions. In order to be valid, Council decisions require not only a qualified majority (slightly larger than before), but also an absolute majority of Member States and, at a country's request, a 62 per cent majority of the total population of EU countries. We explain why thi...
Article
Full-text available
The article analyses the role of the Commission, the Parliament, and the Council in the two main legislative procedures in the European Union: co-operation and co-decision (I). We use the legislative history of some 5,000 parliamentary amendments. These procedures have been the subject of a great deal of theoretical debate. According to conventiona...
Article
The veto players theory can be used to analyze all political systems regardless of regime (presidential or parliamentary), party system (one-, two-, or multiparty), and type of parliament (unicameral or multicameral). This paper develops the veto players theory to account for a series of important political phenomena: the difference between majorit...
Article
This paper compares legislative dynamics under all procedures in which the Council of Ministers votes by qualified majority (QMV). We make five major points. First, the EU governments have sought to reduce the democratic deficit by increasing the powers of the European Parliament since 1987, whereas they have lessened the legislative influence of t...
Chapter
This chapter compares the power of the different institutional actors of the EU (Council Commission and European Parliament) under the cooperation and codecision procedures. A series of spatial models enables the reader to evaluate the influence of each one of these three actors in the legislative process. The conclusions are that: 1. The Commissio...
Article
this paper were presented at Harvard University, the Instituto Juan March and Yale Law School and the ECSA conference in Pittsburgh. Special thanks to Robert Cooter, Torben Iversen and Lisa Martin for many insightful comments. Tsebelis would like to acknowledge financial support provided by NSF grant # SBR 9511485. 2
Article
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This article analyzes coalition formation within the European Parliament (EP) under the cooperation procedure through the analysis of a random sample of 100 roll call votes. The authors find that generally, coalitions form on the basis of ideology, not nationality, although they are able to identify some national groups that occasionally vote again...
Article
This article investigates hypotheses generated by the veto players' theory. The fundamental insight of I this theory is thar an increase in the number of veto players (for all practical purposes, in, parliamentary ssystems the number of parties in government) and their ideological distance from one another will reduce the ability of both government...
Article
Abstract The paper studies the impact of the EP on legislation on chemical pollutants introduced under the Cooperation procedure. A series of formal and informal analyses have predicted from significant impact of the EP, to limited impact (only in the second round) to no impact at all. Through the analysis of Parliamentary debates as well as Commis...
Article
The temptation to apply power indices to decision-making in the European Union should be resisted for two reasons. First, power index approaches either ignore the policy preferences of relevant actors in the EU or incorporate them in ways that generate unstable and misleading results. Second, no matter how sophisticated, power indices cannot take i...
Article
Jan-Erik Lane and Sven Berg, and Manfred Holler and Mika Widgrén, agree that power index analysis of the EU cannot take into account its institutional structure. For us, this is a sufficient condition for its failure as a research program. Nonetheless, they go on to argue that power indices are better suited than our analysis to address questions o...
Article
Four ECSA members reflect on institutionalism in European integration studies. A collective bibliography appears at the end of this Forum.
Article
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The purpose of this article is twofold. Our first goal is to make explicit an institutionalist theory of European integration. This theory is based on the concept of conditional agenda setting, which we argue has played an important role in European integration. According to this theory, the fact that Commission proposals are more easily accepted t...
Article
Moser analyzes the cooperation procedure using a model that assumes (1) one dimension and (2) complete information. I show that because of these two restrictive assumptions and his misunderstanding of the strategic implications of Article 189a(1) of the Maastricht Treaty (an article also present in the Single European Act and the Treaty of Rome), M...
Article
Most intergovernmentalist analyses of European integration focus on treaty bargaining among European Union member governments. Recent articles also have examined everyday decision making through power index analysis, an approach that asserts that a government's ability to influence policy is a function of all possible coalitions in the Council of M...
Article
The effective end in the mid-1980s of unanimity voting in the European Union has greatly increased interest in its policy-making process. Two basic frameworks have been offered to understand legislative dynamics in Europe: power index analyses of bargaining in the Council of Ministers based on cooperative game theory; and, noncooperative institutio...
Article
Most intergovernmentalist analyses of European integration focus on treaty bargaining among European Union member governments. Recent articles also have examined everyday decision making through power index analysis, an approach that asserts that a government's ability to influence policy is a function of all possible coalitions in the Council of M...
Article
Please substitute the following for the definition on page 276 of our article in the Spring 1996 issue of International Organization (Volume 50, No. 2, pp.269–99): Definition. A coalition of m (out of n) members is nonconnected if there is a member i ε {N} – {M} that belongs in the Pareto set of {M }.
Article
Full-text available
The article compares different political systems with respect to one property: their capacity to produce policy change. I define the basic concept of the article, the ‘veto player’: veto players are individual or collective actors whose agreement (by majority rule for collective actors) is required for a change of the status quo. Two categories of...
Article
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In comparison with the extensive powers of the French Senate under the Third Republic, the constitutional role of the upper legislative house in the French Fourth and Fifth Republics has been highly circumscribed; in cases of disagreement, the National Assembly is granted the ultimate power of decision. This article compares three explanations of s...
Article
This article revisits two mistaken impressions about the process of European integration. The first is that the European Parliament (at least before Maastricht) is a weak Parliament. The second is that in a Europe of mutual recognition of standards (Cassis de Dijon), the natural level of harmonis‐ation standards is the lowest common denominator (or...
Article
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This article investigates the decision-making process in the French bicameral legislature: the navette system. In this system, the legislation shuttles between the two houses until agreement is reached or until a stopping rule is applied. We examine the interaction between upper and lower houses as a bargaining game with complete and one-sided inco...
Article
Most economic theories predict a rise in unemployment when unemploy ment benefits increase. The reason is that more people will be willing to exit from work, and fewer people will enter the workforce, when benefits are high. We argue that these theories oversimplify the situation because they do not take into account the way benefits are monitored....
Article
The European Parliament under the current cooperation procedure has an important power: it can make proposals that, if accepted by the Commission of the European Communities, are easier for the Council of Ministers to accept than to modify, since only qualified majority is required for acceptance, whereas full unanimity for modification. The import...
Article
Two different models of the game between police and public, one with two-sided incomplete information and the other with multiple strategies, lead to the same results as my previous research: changes in penalties at equilibrium do not affect crime but instead affect police behavior. I compare these models with alternative models of the police-publi...
Article
This paper analyzes the legislative influence of upper houses in bicameral legislatures. We note the existence of two separate analytical traditions, one focusing on upper house expertise, the other on upper house power. We hypothesize that because legislative analyses of unitary systems focus primarily on the "efficient" aspects of upper house inp...
Article
A series of papers on regulation and fines utilizes formal analysis to conclude that a firm's compliance with regulation increases when the fines for violation are increased. The common denominator of these papers is the modelling of the firm as a decision-maker under risk: the firm's goal is to minimize expected losses given some probability that...
Article
Existing approaches consider crime as either the consequence of antecedent social conditions or the outcome of a rational calculation by a predator who chooses crime as a utility-maximizing career. Consequently, these approaches propose either an improvement in social conditions or an increase in penalties as a means to reduce criminal activity. Th...
Article
George Tsebelis argued in the March 1989 issue of this Review that decision theory is completely appropriate for analyzing games against nature but not appropriate for dissecting games against a rational opponent. Analysts who mistake a rational opponent for nature in constructing models commit what Tsebelis calls @'the Robinson Crusoe fallacy.@' I...
Article
Although economic sanctions have been quite frequent in the twentieth century, a close examination of the low success rate (33 out of 83 cases) indicates that sender countries are not able to select the appropriate cases. Moreover, analysts sometimes offer contradictory advice for such selection. This article provides a game-theoretic explanation o...
Article
This paper uses game theory to provide a common framework to address three questions: (a) Under what conditions is it possible for political elites in segmented societies to pursue accommodating strategies? (b) If elites choose such strategies over long periods of time, why do their followers continue to vote for them? (c) How can political institu...
Article
A series of two-state models are advanced governing the dynamic relationship within a state of (1) revolution and coercion, (2) revolution and relative deprivation and (3) revolution and outside intervention. These models combine, in abstract form, the major thrusts of the work of Tilly (structure and organization without psychology) with the work...
Article
The decision to stay at home when you have no umbrella and rain is probable is an appropriate problem for decision theory. The decision to speed when you are in a hurry and the police might be patrolling is a game against a rational opponent. Treating the latter like a problem ofr decision theory is what I call the Robinson Crusoe fallacy. It is qu...
Article
This article introduces a theory of Nested Games which accounts for the cohesion of coalitions. The parties in a coalition are considered to be playing a game with variable payoffs. The payoffs depend on a higher-order game between the coalition and its opponents. Several political situations approximate to this conceptualization, such as Governmen...
Article
‘Tactical voting’ refers to voting contrary to one's nominal preferences. The usual form of tactical voting described in the literature consists of ‘third’ party supporters in plurality electoral settings voting for one of the two major parties in their constituency. This Note aims to demonstrate both theoretically and empirically the existence of...
Article
Full-text available
Do authoritarian regimes manipulate economic policy in the run-up to elections? Implicit in traditional models of electoral budget cycles is the idea that voters hold their politicians accountable for poor economic performance in democratic societies. I argue that authori-tarian rulers manipulate the economy in many of the same ways that democratic...

Projects

Projects (2)
Project
See my web page: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/tsebelis/