Upper houses in Bicameral Parliaments: roles, reforms & trends

dc.contributor.advisorLeyenaar, M.H.
dc.contributor.authorMeijer, Roel
dc.description.abstractThis thesis is about the usefulness of upper houses in modern parliamentary systems. In certain developed countries the upper house has been abolished in the period since 1945. Additionally, in several other countries abolition or reform of the upper house has been an active point of political discussion. This research focuses on what makes an upper house effective. Furthermore, this thesis explores what causes countries to abolish or (re-)establish an upper house. This thesis encompasses a literature study and empirical research in order to find out theoretical aspects of upper houses and upper house reform and whether these aspects can be found in reality. Macro-level empirical research is done on aspects of bicameral and unicameral parliaments of 36 countries. Micro-level empirical study is done on the political discussion on parliamentary reform in four cases (Ireland, the Netherlands, New-Zealand and Sweden). In the conclusion, it is found that upper houses can still have their uses, especially in larger countries with regional minorities, if given a strong degree of powers. In smaller countries or countries with weaker upper houses, senates can still play an important reflective or lesser legislative role. In the case studies, no single argument or causal path for wanting to abolish the upper house could be found. Reasons for reform were discovered in both intra- and extra-political categories and both ‘rational choice’ and ‘institutionalist’ categories.en_US
dc.thesis.facultyFaculteit der Managementwetenschappenen_US
dc.thesis.specialisationComparative Politicsen_US
dc.thesis.studyprogrammeMaster Political Scienceen_US
dc.titleUpper houses in Bicameral Parliaments: roles, reforms & trendsen_US
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