Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



It is often asserted in the institutional literature that there is a trade-off between effective and efficient government. Effective government is often stipulated to be more representative, while efficient government is considered superior at passing legislation. This analysis critiques Arend Lijphart's theory that consensus democracies are more representative, and therefore, result in "kinder, gentler" democracies with more encompassing social policies. I hypothesize that more representative government - operationalized as having higher levels of fractionalization within the legislature, more federalism and more checks within the system - is actually more effective at translating the median voter's preference for occupationally dependent or targeted welfare policies into legislation. Consequently, states with more institutional autonomy will be more efficient at passing larger forms of welfare legislation. Through a cross sectional OLS multivariate regression analysis, I find that federalism is negatively correlated with the level of social expenditure across states. However, my results also suggest that "Downsian" platform convergence may actually make more representation in the legislature conducive to social policy implementation. These findings suggest that representative features within government actually have mixed effects on the emergence of social policies and that better measures for these independent variables as well as a more accurate measure for the welfare state are imperative to future welfare state studies.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

William Clark