A kinder, gentler democracy: The consensus model and Swedish disability politics
2008 (English)In: Scandinavian Political Studies, ISSN 0080-6757, E-ISSN 1467-9477, Vol. 31, no 3, 291-310 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Arend Lijphart’s seminal consensus model of democracy does not only try to explain how democracy actually works. It also purports to be a ‘kinder, gentler’ form of democracy with regard to e.g. unemployment, disability, illness and old age. So far, this conjecture has not been brought to a systematic test which is the purpose of this article. We look into the consequences for one of the areas Lijphart singles out: disability. Does consensus democracy promote a more generous policy towards disabled people than majoritarian democracy? We transfer Lijphart’s theory to municipality level. In Sweden, disability care is namely the responsibility for the municipalities, which are comparatively large and independent and with the right to tax their citizens; they are like small nation-states. There is, however, a considerable variation in disability support between them. Some give ten times as much support than others. Is it those governed according to the consensus model? Our approach helps controlling for the variation in political and cultural context and expands the number of observations. The statistical comparison of Swedish municipalities does not, however, lend any confirmation of the famous theory. Instead, there are reasons to doubt that consensus democracy promotes more generous policies.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 31, no 3, 291-310 p.
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-87735DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9477.2008.00207.xISI: 000258223200003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-87735DiVA: diva2:133447