Honors Program


Document Type


Date of this Version



Lederer, J. (2019). Democratic Failure in Various Forms of Democracy. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Jonathan Lederer 2019.


Democratic Failure is a problem which has plagued democratic states since their earliest instances, and increasingly is a problem in the world today. Accordingly, a question to ask is, “Are certain forms of democracy more likely to experience democratic failure than others?” The correlation between democratic failure and a state’s executive institutional structure has been researched extensively, while the correlation between a state’s legal tradition and democratic failure has been studied far less. This thesis attempts to confirm the conventional wisdom that certain democratic institutional structures are more likely to fail, and attempts to find out whether certain legal traditions are more highly correlated with democratic failure. This is done through examining states during the post World War II era to find whether Presidential, Parliamentary, or Semi-Presidential systems are more likely to experience democratic failure, and whether Common Law or Civil Law legal traditions are more likely to experience failure. Ultimately, this thesis does confirm the conventional wisdom concerning democratic failure and institutional structures, although not as obviously as is commonly assumed. Also, this thesis does provide data to answer the question of whether higher levels of democratic failure is associated with different legal traditions, confirming that Common Law traditions are less likely to experience democratic failure.