Veto players

Andreas Warntjen

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Abstract

Veto players are political actors whose consent is necessary to adopt a new policy. Put otherwise, they have veto power which allows them to prevent a change to the status quo. The concept is crucial to the influential veto player theory developed by George Tsebelis. Building on earlier work in formal modeling and social choice, Tsebelis developed veto player theory to compare political systems in terms of their ability for policy change. A political system with a high number of veto players or with large ideological differences among veto players has high policy stability. High policy stability in turn can lead to government or regime instability as it becomes harder to adapt policy to changing circumstances. Furthermore, high policy stability increases bureaucratic and judicial independence as acts by these branches cannot be easily overruled by new or more specific legislation. Finally, high policy stability limits the effect of agenda-setting power. The following summarizes the main points of veto player theory, discusses some criticisms of it, and briefly compares veto player theory to Immergut’s concept of veto points.
Original languageUndefined
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of power
EditorsKeith Dowding
PublisherSAGE
ISBN (Print)9781412927482
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Publication series

Name
PublisherSage

Keywords

  • IR-73546

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