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Brazilian Political Science Review (Online)

On-line version ISSN 1981-3821


ARRETCHE, Marta. Federalism, bicameralism, and institutional change: general trends and one case-study. Braz. political sci. rev. (Online) [online]. 2010, vol.5Selected edition, pp. 0-0. ISSN 1981-3821.

The article distinguishes federal states from bicameralism and mechanisms of territorial representation in order to examine the association of each with institutional change in 32 countries by using constitutional amendments as a proxy. It reveals that bicameralism tends to be a better predictor of constitutional stability than federalism. All of the bicameral cases that are associated with high rates of constitutional amendment are also federal states, including Brazil, India, Austria, and Malaysia. In order to explore the mechanisms explaining this unexpected outcome, the article also examines the voting behavior of Brazilian senators constitutional amendments proposals (CAPs). It shows that the Brazilian Senate is a partisan Chamber. The article concludes that regional influence over institutional change can be substantially reduced, even under symmetrical bicameralism in which the Senate acts as a second veto arena, when party discipline prevails over the cohesion of regional representation.

Keywords : Federalism; Bicameralism; Senate; Institutional change; Brazil.

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