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Legislatures/Law Making Bodies


Strengthening Legislatures – Implications from Industrial Countries

This topic brief, a PREM Note, describes the factors affecting legislative performance in industrial countries offer a framework for examining the issues facing reformers of legislatures in developing and transition economies. Read More 

Parliamentary Control Over Public Expenditure in Bangladesh: The Role of Committees

This report reviews actions to control public spending taken by selected committees of Bangladesh's parliament. While noting that the committees' efforts cannot be considered a major success, the report finds that parliamentary scrutiny of government had increased and that the Public Accounts Committee in particular achieved several notable successes, including the recovery of more than TK. 2000 million (US $ 40 million) for the treasury. Although Bangladesh's parliamentary committees are probably unlikely to have any lasting impact on government behavior until the bureaucracy and the party systems are reformed, reforms to the committee system should not wait on these larger changes. Providing the committees with adequate staff and support services, requiring the committees to file periodic reports with parent body and to hold open meetings, and mandating that government publicly respond to committee recommendations are all steps that would enhance the committees' effectiveness. Read More 

Report on Parliamentary Procedures and Relations (OECD)

This report published in January 2001 describes how parliaments in 28 countries belonging to the OECD operate.  It concludes that the quality of information government provides to parliament is key to ensuring responsible parliamentary law-making.  The report also recounts efforts different parliaments are making to enhance their openness, transparency, and links to civil society. Read More 

Centre for Legislative Studies, University of Hull

The Centre conducts international and interdisciplinary research on parliaments and publishes the Journal for Legislative Studies.  The Web site contains information on the Centre's research programs and publications and numerous links to other sites concerned about parliament.


Inter-Parliamentary Union

Founded in 1889, this international association of parliaments of sovereign states fosters contacts between and exchanges of information among parliaments and parliamentarians of all countries. Its website contains extensive comparative information on the operation of parliaments and links to the webpages of parliaments throughout the world.


Oversight by the American Congress: Comparative Implications

This paper published in 2000 is a thorough review of how the American Congress oversees the activities of the U.S. government. It is often held that the Congress has been less successful in conducting oversight than in fulfilling most of its other responsibilities. The paper argues that this perception rests in part on an unduly restrictive conception of what constitutes oversight. It goes on to identify the two general approaches that the modern Congress has taken in its efforts to promote more and better oversight and then discusses some of the innovative oversight mechanisms that Congress has recently devised. Finally, it examines the implications of the American congressional experience for efforts by other national assemblies to improve their own oversight capabilities and performance. Read More

Design of Electoral Systems for Emerging Democracies

The system a nation follows for electing its legislators has a profound effect on the makeup and operation of the legislature. This site describes the different kinds of electoral systems and how they affect legislative composition and performance.


Report on "Strengthening Parliament" (Commission to Strengthen Parliament, United Kingdom)

Commissioned by the Conservative Party in the United Kingdom, the report published in 2000 explains the important role the Parliament of the United Kingdom plays in governing that nation and why parliament has gone into decline in recent years.  It offers a series of recommendations for reversing this decline that range from changes in the times and ways parliament questions ministers through the creation of new committees to the provision of more resources for opposition parties. Read More 

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