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Democracia, Eleições e Responsabilidade Política

The purpose of this article is to examine the empirical validity of two propositions, which are related by the definition of democracy as a regime in which rulers are selected by elections: first, that democracy is a political regime distinguished by the accountability of rulers to the ruled, and, second, that elections are the mechanism through which this accountability is enforced. The authors consider that rulers are accountable if the probability that they survive in office is sensitive to government performance. On the basis of data for 135 countries observed, with a few exceptions, between 1950 and 1990, the authors estimated the probability that a head of government in democracies and dictatorships survives a particular year in office given the length of tenure and economic outcomes. On the basis of this analysis, they conclude that the assertion that democracy induces accountability is at least too broad; that elections do not enforce economic accountability in democratic regimes; and that the link between democracy and elections appears to be less than definitional. The authors conclude the article by suggesting a number of plausible explanations for these results.

Democracy; Elections; Accountability; Parliamentarism; Presidentialism

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