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Review Article: A Structured Review of Semi-Presidential Studies: Debates, Results and Missing Pieces

  • Jenny Åberg and Thomas Sedelius

This study maps the general lines of semi-presidential research with regard to theory, topics and methods. It identifies research gaps and provides recommendations for future studies. The review includes a general screening of 327 publications covering the period 1970–2015, and a close reading of sixty-five selected publications. The findings suggest that the inconsistent use of regime type definitions has limited the possibilities for generalizations. The study tracks the influence of some seminal articles, as well as the recent trend of focusing on the role and powers of the president. The article calls for more studies beyond Europe, and suggests that the field would benefit from including Historical and Normative Institutionalism. Finally, it suggests the need for studies on public administration that are relevant to the functioning of semi-presidential government.

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School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Dalarna University (emails:; We wish to thank Cecilia Arensmeier and Erik Hysing and our colleagues at the research seminars in Political Science and Sociology at Dalarna University and Örebro University. At various stages, they provided most valuable feedback on earlier drafts of this article. We are also grateful to the three anonymous reviewers at the British Journal of Political Science. Their comments helped to substantially improve the manuscript during its latter stages. The research was funded by the Swedish Research Council under the granted project ‘Semi-Presidentialism and Governability in Transitional Regimes’, project no. VR 2014-1260. Data replication sets are available at and online appendices at

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