Presidentialism, Violence, and the Prospect of Democracy tackles the perennial debate about whether presidentialism is associated with democratic breakdown. Yao-Yuan Yeh and Charles K. S. Wu integrate both institutional and behavioral arguments to discuss how institutional rigidity in changing executive power would stimulate citizens to adopt relatively violent means to address their grievances, leading to democratic crises. This book finds presidential democracies are more likely to encounter crises than either parliamentary or semi-presidential systems. However, once a crisis occurs, presidentialism does not trigger a higher likelihood of a breakdown. The conventional wisdom is thus only half correct.
Yao-Yuan Yeh is chair of the department of international studies and modern languages and associate professor of international studies at the University of St. Thomas, Houston
Charles K.S. Wu is doctoral candidate in the department of political science at Purdue University.
Chapter 1: Institutional Designs and Prospect of Democracy
Chapter 2: Why Presidentialism Is Dangerous
Chapter 3: Presidentialism and Violent Attitudes: Evidence from the World Value Survey
Chapter 4: Presidentialism and Violent Behavior: Evidence from the Asian Barometer Survey
Chapter 5: Presidentialism and Democratic Crisis: A Two Steps Examination of the Global Democracies
Yao-Yuan Yeh and Charles Wu’s tour de force revisits and elaborates Juan Linz’s classic argument about the perils of presidentialism by providing nuanced answers to the questions of why and how this institution generates distinct behavioral outcomes and political consequences compared to other institutions. This book not only enriches scholarly debates in the fields of comparative politics and political behavior, but also provides important policy implications for the changing prospects of democracies today.
In Presidentialism, Violence, and the Prospect of Democracy, the authors engage in an important dialogue with scholars of democracy/democratization and constitutional engineering on the importance of the choice of institutional design in political performance. In this rigorous, systematic, and empirical work, Yeh and Wu provide even stronger support to the ever-growing doubts about the efficacy of presidentialism to deliver the desired democratic outcomes, especially for developing presidential democratic countries. This excellent work is a must-read inclusion in course syllabus of postgraduate seminars in contemporary democracies.
In an era of democratic instability, the question of whether presidential systems like the U.S. contribute to domestic political violence and to potential democratic breakdown could not be more timely, yet it is too little asked. This book combines a deep knowledge of the literature with two new ideas about how presidentialism encourages both violent political protest and the onset of regime crises. I learned a great deal from it.