Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Institutions and attribution of responsibility outside the electoral context: a look at French semi-presidentialism

  • Mathieu Turgeon (a1) and Éric Bélanger (a2)
Abstract

Some institutional arrangements may be undesirable for democracy by obscuring which political actors are to be held responsible for failed or successful policies and bad or good macroeconomic performances. Much of the work in the area has focused on whether institutions affect the ‘clarity of political responsibility’ and the ability of voters to punish or reward, in turn, governments and elected officials. Not much has been said, however, about the assignment of responsibility outside the electoral context, for a broad range of policy areas. This paper explores these questions in the context of French semi-presidentialism. It demonstrates that the French public is surprisingly quite responsive to the demands imposed by their political system by adjusting reasonably well their evaluations of both actors of the executive in light of major political events and changes in the economic conditions when the circumstances clearly indicate which of the two is ‘in charge’. At other times, however, this particular institutional arrangement obscures instead political responsibility.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*E-mail: turgeon@unb.br
References
Hide All
Anderson, C. (1995), Blaming the Government: Citizens and the Economy in Five European Democracies, Amonk, NY: M. E. Sharpe.
Anderson, C. (2000), ‘Economic voting and political context: a comparative perspective’, Electoral Studies 19: 151170.
Anderson, C.D. (2006), ‘Economic voting and multilevel governance: a comparative individual-level analysis’, American Journal of Political Science 50: 449463.
Bell, D.S. (2000), Presidential Power in Fifth Republic France, Oxford, UK: Berg.
Boya, C., Malizard, J. and Agamaliyev, E. (2010), ‘Fonction de popularité, hypothèse de responsabilité et dynamique des partis’, Revue économique 61: 859874.
Burdeau, G. (1959), ‘La Conception du Pouvoir selon la Constitution française d’Octobre 1958’, Revue Française de Science Politique 9: 87100.
Cheibub, J.A. and Chernykh, S. (2009), ‘Are semi-presidential constitutions bad for democratic performance?’, Constitutional Political Economy 20: 202229.
Conley, R.S. (2006), ‘From Elysian fields to the guillotine? The dynamics of presidential and prime ministerial approval in Fifth Republic France’, Comparative Political Studies 39: 570598.
Courbis, R. (1995), ‘De la modélisation macro-économique à la modélisation macropolitique: propos d’étape’, Journal de la société de statistique de Paris 136: 4770.
Cutler, F. (2004), ‘Government responsibility and electoral accountability in federations’, Publius: The Journal of Federalism 34: 1938.
Cutler, F. (2008), ‘Whodunnit? Voters and responsibility in Canadian federalism’, Canadian Journal of Political Science 41: 627654.
de Vries, C., Edwards, E. and Tillman, E. (2011), ‘Clarity of responsibility beyond the pocketbook: how political institutions condition eu issue voting’, Comparative Political Studies 44: 339362.
Duch, R.M. and Stevenson, R.T. (2008), The Economic Vote: How Political and Economic Institutions Condition Election Results, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Durbin, J. (1970), ‘Testing for serial correlation in least-squares regression when some of the regressors are lagged dependent variables’, Econometrica 38: 410421.
Durbin, J. and Watson, G.S. (1950), ‘Testing for serial correlation in least-squares regression’, Biometrika 37: 409428.
Duverger, M. (1978), Echec au roi, Paris: Albin Michel.
Duverger, M. (1986), ‘L’expérience française du régime semi-présidential’, in M. Duverger (ed.), Les régimes semiprésidentiels, Paris: PUF, pp. 4754.
Duverger, M. (1996), Le Système politique français, 21st edn, Paris: PUF.
Elgie, R. (1996), ‘The French presidency: conceptualizing presidential power in the Fifth Republic’, Public Administration 74: 275291.
Elgie, R. (1999), ‘France’, in R Elgie (ed.), Semi-Presidentialism in Europe, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 6785.
Elgie, R. (2001), ‘Cohabitation’: divided government French-style’, in R Elgie (ed.), Divided Government in Comparative Perspective, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 106126.
Elgie, R. (2004), ‘Semi-presidentialism: concepts, consequences and contesting explanations’, Political Studies Review 2: 314330.
Elgie, R. (2009), ‘Duverger, semi-presidentialism and the supposed French archetype’, West European Politics 32: 248267.
Elgie, R. and Griggs, S. (2000), French Politics: Debates and Controversies, New York, NY: Routledge.
Elgie, R.S., Moestrup, S. and Wu, Y. (2011), Semi-Presidentialism and Democracy, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Hamilton, A. (1982), ‘The Executive Department further considered, Federalist No. 70’, in A. Hamilton, J. Madison and J. Jay (eds), The Federalist Papers, New York: Bantam Press, pp. 354361.
Hellwig, T. (2007), ‘Globalization and perceptions of policy maker competence: evidence from France’, Political Research Quarterly 60: 146158.
Hellwig, T. and Samuels, D. (2007), ‘Electoral accountability and the variety of democratic regimes’, British Journal of Political Science 38: 6590.
Hibbs, D.A. (1981), ‘Economics and politics in France: economic performance and political support for Presidents Pompidou and Giscard d’Estaing’, European Journal of Political Research 9: 133145.
Hobolt, S., Tilley, J. and Banducci, S. (2013), ‘Clarity of responsibility: how government cohesion conditions performance voting’, European Journal of Political Research 52: 164187.
Hoffman, S.H. (1959), ‘The French Constitution of 1958: I. The final text and its prospects’, American Political Science Review 53: 332357.
Kayser, M.A. (2014), ‘The elusive economic vote’, in L. LeDuc, R.G. Niemi and P. Norris (eds), Comparing Democracies 4: Elections and Voting in a Changing World, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, pp. 112132.
Kernell, S. (1978), ‘Explaining presidential popularity’, American Political Science Review 72: 506522.
Lafay, J.-D. (1977), ‘Les conséquences électorales de la conjoncture économique: Essai de prévision chiffrée pour mars 1978’, Vie et sciences économiques 78: 5154.
Lafay, J.-D. (1985), ‘Political change and stability of the popularity function: the French general election of 1981’, in H. Eulau and M. Lewis-Beck (eds), Economic Conditions and Electoral Outcomes: The U.S. and Western Europe, New York, NY: Agathon, pp. 7897.
Lafay, J.-D. (1991), ‘Political dyarchy and popularity functions: lessons from the 1986 French experience’, in H. Norpoth, M. Lewis-Beck and J.-D. Lafay (eds), Economics and Politics: The Calculus of Support, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, pp. 123139.
Lau, R.R. and Redlawsk, D.P. (2006), How Voters Decide: Information Processing During Election Campaigns, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Lavroff, D. G. (1986), ‘La prééminence du Président de la République au sein du système politique français’, in J.-L. Seurin (ed.), La Présidence en France et aux Etats-Unis, Paris: Economica, pp. 321332.
Lecaillon, J. (1980), ‘Salaires, chômage et situation politique’, Revue d’économie politique 5: 615627.
Lewis-Beck, M. (1980), ‘Economic conditions and executive popularity: the French experience’, American Journal of Political Science 24: 306323.
Lewis-Beck, M. (1997), ‘Who’s the chef? Economic voting under a dual executive’, European Journal of Political Research 31: 315325.
Lewis-Beck, M. and Nadeau, R. (2000), ‘French electoral institutions and the economic vote’, Electoral Studies 19: 171182.
Lewis-Beck, M. and Nadeau, R. (2004), ‘Dual governance and economic voting: France and the United States’, in M. Lewis-Beck (ed.), The French Voter, New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 136154.
Lewis-Beck, M.S. and Stegmaier, M. (2013), ‘The VP-function revisited: a survey of the literature on vote and popularity functions after over 40 years’, Public Choice 157: 367385.
Lupia, A. and McCubbins, M.D. (1998), The Democratic Dilemma: Can Citizens Learn What They Really Need to Know? New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Marsh, M. and Tilley, J. (2010), ‘The attribution of credit and blame to governments and its impact on vote choice’, British Journal of Political Science 40: 115134.
Mueller, J. (1973), War, Presidents, and Public Opinion, New York, NY: Wiley.
Nadeau, R., Niemi, R. and Yoshinaka, A. (2002), ‘A cross-national analysis of economic voting: taking account of the political context across time and nations’, Electoral Studies 21: 403423.
Nannestad, P. and Paldam, M. (1994), ‘The VP-function: a survey of the literature on vote and popularity functions after 25 years’, Public Choice 79: 213245.
Nicholson, S.P., Segura, G.M. and Woods, N.D. (2002), ‘Presidential approval and the mixed blessing of divided government’, Journal of Politics 64: 701720.
Powell, G.B. and Whitten, G.D. (1993), ‘A cross-national analysis of economic voting: taking account of the political context’, American Journal of Political Science 98: 425436.
Quermonne, J.-L. (1980), ‘Pouvoir présidentiel et pouvoir partisan sous la Ve République’, Projet 150: 11771188.
Royed, T.R., Leyden, K.M. and Borrelli, S.A. (2000), ‘Is clarity of responsibility important for economic voting? Revisiting Powell and Whitten’s hypothesis’, British Journal of Political Science 30: 669698.
Rudolph, T.J. (2003), ‘Institutional context and the assignment of political responsibility’, Journal of Politics 65: 190215.
Safran, W. (1991), The French Polity, White Plains, NY: Longman.
Samuels, D.J. and Shugart, M.S. (2010), Presidents, Parties, and Prime Ministers, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sartori, G. (1997), Comparative Constitutional Engineering, 2nd edn, New York, NY: New York University Press.
Shaver, K.G. (1985), The Attribution of Blame: Causality, Responsibility, and Blameworthiness, New York, NY: Springler-Verlag.
Soroka, S.N. and Wlezien, C. (2010), Degrees of Democracy: Politics, Public Opinion, and Policy, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
van der Brug, W., van der Eijk, C. and Franklin, M. (2007), The Economy and the Vote: Economic Conditions and Elections in Fifteen Countries, New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Veiga, F.J. and Veiga, L.G. (2004), ‘Popularity functions, partisan effects, and support in parliament’, Economics and Politics 16: 101115.
Weaver, R.K. and Rockman, B.A. (1993), Do Institutions Matter? Government Capabilities in the United States and Abroad, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.
Whitten, G.D. and Palmer, H.D. (1999), ‘Cross-national analysis of economic voting’, Electoral Studies 18: 4967.
Wright, V. (1989), The Government and Politics of France, London: Unwin Hyman.
Zanna, M.P., Klosson, E.C. and Darley, J.M. (1976), ‘How television news viewers deal with facts that contradict their beliefs: a consistency and attribution analysis’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology 6: 159176.
Zarka, J.-C. (1992), Fonction présidentielle et problématique majorité présidentielle/majorité parlementaire sous la Cinquième République (1986-1992), Paris, France: Librairie Générale de Droit et de Jurisprudence.
Zellner, A. (1962), ‘An efficient method of estimating seemingly unrelated regression equations and tests for aggregation bias’, Journal of the American Statistical Association 57: 348368.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 1755-7739
  • EISSN: 1755-7747
  • URL: /core/journals/european-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Turgeon and Bélanger supplementary material S1
Online Appendix

 PDF (67 KB)
67 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed