Herbert Kitschelt et. al. Post-Communist Party Systems. (1999).

Main Argument:_ The authors believe that until 1989, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary covered between them the main varieties of communist regime including bureaucratic-authoritarian, national-accommodative and patrimonial regimes. The authors show how the legacies of past regime types have affected the early years of democracy and the level of responsiveness to citizen interest articulation. The post-communist democracies show a great deal of structure and only limited randomness in patterns of representation and governance [403].

 

_Method:_ Uses comparative analysis of four case studies (Czech, Poland, Hungary & Bulgaria). Includes a wide-ranging series of interviews with politicians and representatives of all major parties in the four countries studied, primarily in 1994. Supplemented the elite interviews with surveys of mass political attitudes and opinions on samples representative for populations of each country.

 

_Cases:_ The Czech Republic represents the purest case of bureaucratic-authoritarian communism, Bulgaria that of patrimonialism, while Hungary-and, less clearly, Poland-are representatives of the national-accommodative category.

 

 

== Notes ==

 

–  Looks at the structuring of party competition, the nature of the political alignments and dimensions of competition that have emerged, and levels of political representation and the quality of democratic governance that characterise the post-communist systems of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic

–  The book is designed to provide an ‘exemplary model’ for the study of Third Wave democracies more generally [9]

–  In the East, highly structured party systems are important for political performance because they operate with low transaction costs (ideological cohesion solves coordinative collective action problems), permit meaningful interparty cooperation, and facilitate the adoption of public policies that foster economic growth through good government

–  Three prime modes of communist rule are identified in terms of patrimonial communism, national-accommodative communism and a bureaucratic-authoritative variety

–  The three variants are then linked with alternative strategic pathways of regime transition and, further, with a range of influences exerted on the specific choices made of the new democratic rules of the game in the countries at issue

–  Each, they argue, relied on diverse modes of rule and social forces:

–  Bureaucratic-authoritarian communism came closest to the totalitarian model, with a fused party-state and a harsh and hostile approach to opposition

–  National-accommodative communism separated party rule from technical state administration and permitted limited civil rights, relying more on co-optation than repression

–  Patrimonial communism ruled primarily through vertical chains of personal dependence and exhibited low levels of bureaucratic institutionalization

–  The book attacks what the authors call the “tabula rasa” theory of post-communist democratization, in which communist regimes are said to have left behind inert and atomized societies that undercut the constitution of group interests and in which unstable and pro-grammatically weak parties float without connection above society

 

 

_What determines the subtype of Communism?_

–  In particular, the timing of bureaucratic development and the entry of the masses into politics determines the final outcomes

–  If bureaucratic development precedes the entry of the masses into politics, the result is programmatic competition

–  By contrast, if the entry of the masses into politics precedes bureaucratic development, clientelistic competition or charismatic personalities dominate

 

 

_Findings:_

–  Post-communist societies are by no means homogeneous or destructured, both citizens and politicians have perceived a range of interests and been able to articulate them, and East European populations overall have displayed a cultural aptitude and ‘civilisational competence’ quite sufficient to build effective institutions and use them for the rational pursuit of perceived interest

–  Perceived interests under the new conditions of post-communist politics and the influence of the democratic institutions chosen in the different countries also make a distinctive contribution to political outcomes

–  The ‘structured diversity’ having emerged in post-communist party politics is one of considerable complexity and great sophistication

–  The authors, while focusing on political institutions, specifically parties and party systems, reject the formalistic approach of neo-institutional analysis

–  They point out long-term institutional effects of voting rules and executive-legislative relations on the number of parties, the types of parties, and the development of the party system as a whole

–  They proclaim that institutional solutions (constitutional arrangements, electoral laws, etc.) per se may be not unimportant, but truly essential for the success of democratization is the actual performance of democratic institutions

–  The same formal rules may generate different outcomes, contingent above all on legacies of the past

–  Institutional equilibria develop over the long term –> In the short run institutional effects are likely to be indeterminate

 

 

_Critique:_ The coding of regimes into regime-types also seems arbitrary at times and produces a number of anomalies, especially as one moves beyond their four chosen cases

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