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A Revisionist View of the Separation of Powers

Geoffrey Brennan and Alan Hamlin

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 1994, vol. 6, issue 3, 345-368

Abstract: The doctrine of the separation of powers attracts almost universal support as a central element of the liberal constitution designed to protect citizens against governmental power. However, there is little agreement on, or analysis of, the precise institutional requirements of the doctrine or the method by which the claimed benefit is achieved. We set out a simple model of the interaction between citizen-voters, the legislature and the executive to illustrate that the functional division of powers can operate systematically against the interests of citizen-voters. This case provides the basis both for a taxonomy of distinct senses of the separation of powers, and for the revisionist claim that there is a general liberal presumption against the functional separation of powers.

Keywords: constitution; separation of powers (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1994
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