Upper Legislative Houses: The Origins of Symmetry and Congruence

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Within the field of political science, an oft-unaddressed topic is the origins of upper legislative houses as an institution. Within the literature, the origins of individual upper houses are explained; however, no all-encompassing attempt at a theoretical framework exists to shed light upon how these bodies acquire their specific combination of power and representational mechanisms, which will be termed symmetry and congruence in this paper. Working primarily off of a federal model developed by Erik Wibbels with the addition of a unitary process, this thesis will present a model explaining the symmetry and congruence of upper legislative houses through the variables of distribution of regional economic specializations, inter-regional inequality, and inter-regional population variation. The model will then be substantiated and reinforced through case studies of the German Empire, Australia, India, France, and Sweden. Considering the small-scale nature of this theoretical exposition, the conclusion of this paper will present a framework through which a cross-national study of the proposed model can be conducted; this will include proposals for indices to measure both congruence and symmetry. Such a study could be the source of a future dissertation.


Honors thesis, submitted for distinction to the Department of Political Science




Catapano, Joseph (2011). Upper Legislative Houses: The Origins of Symmetry and Congruence. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/3597.

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