Assignments Political Institutions, Economic Growth, and Democracy: The Substitute Effect

Political Institutions and Political Actors

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Political Institutions and Political Actors

In this unit, we will learn about some of the major political institutions: the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of government. Each of these institutions or branches is unique in terms of the power it exercises. Moreover, political power is not concentrated in just one branch; it is separated among the three. This separation of powers means that political power is defused throughout each of these branches, which allows each to check the power of the other. These checks and balances ensure that no one branch becomes too powerful. Each branch checks the other to ensure that power is balanced between them. This helps us to understand the different political actors and how they are often forced to act within their political institutions when making policy decisions. Political Actors


  • The difference between presidential and parliamentary systems of government

  • The distinction between unicameral and bicameral legislatures

  • How presidents and prime ministers exercise executive power

  • The role of the bureaucracy in the executive branch of government

  • The differences between the U.S. and European court systems

  • The ability of the judiciary to check the powers of the executive and legislative branches of government

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