Nature and performance of political institutions across a variety of regime types

The study of the nature and the performance of political institutions broadly defined is at the very core of various related research agendas represented at the Centre. These include institutionalist perspectives on executives, legislatures, and parties in established democratic regimes, and at the transnational and international level. Here, we look, for example, at how formal and informal rules shape the performance, and interaction, of individual and collective actors in the executive and legislative arena, and in the wider political process. We also look at more complex sets of institutions to be found at the level of political systems, such as constitutions, which generate different forms of government and constitutionalism, and provide the basic parameters of democratic governance more generally. Moreover, we study theoretical and empirical aspect of institutional reform, including the more particular challenges and issues of comparative institutional engineering. While most of our research in this field focuses on the study of institutions and their performance in the advanced democracies, our agenda extends to examining institution-related issues of politics and society in younger democracies as well as types of regimes that have been classifed as „defective democracies“. Exemplary work in this area includes:


Ludger Helms (2016), Regierungssysteme, in Hans-Joachim Lauth et al. (eds.), Handbuch Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, pp. 141-154.

Ludger Helms (2015), Warum der Parlamentarismus nicht ausgespielt hat, in Theo Öhlinger and Klaus Poier (eds.), Direkte Demokratie und Parlamentarismus: Wie kommen wir zu den besten Entscheidungen?, Wien: Böhlau, pp. 135-151.

Ludger Helms (2014), Institutional Analysis, in Paul ‘t Hart and R.A.W. Rhodes (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Leadership, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 195-209.

Tom Louwerse, Simon Otjes, David M. Willumsen, and Patrick Öhberg (2016), Reaching across the aisle: Explaining government–opposition voting in parliament, in: Party Politics, 1354068815626000.