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By David M. Olson

This article summarizes the study on, and reviews of, democratic legislatures world wide. It makes a speciality of what legislatures are and what they do - as either outcome of and contributor to democratic self-government.

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The Job: Dimensions of Time The tasks of membership in legislative institutions at the most elemental level consist of timein two dimensions. 1 What Profession Is This? "The capacity of [British] MPs to cope with the workload and the hours, and be expected to master the detail, is what no one else in any other profession would seriously be asked to do. I was an executive in industry. . " Quoted in Jogerst 1993, 118 day or year does the job take, and second, for how many years do persons remain members?

Member of Congress Quoted in Berkman 1993, 77 Lobbyists in Washington: "The freshmen are important, particularly on big issues like the energy tax proposal," said Jerry Jasinowski, president of the National Association of Manufacturers, the lead organization in the American Energy Alliance, a lobbying coalition of more than 1,000 organizations. "Jack Bonner, head of the lobbying group Bonner & Associates, was more direct. S. House: " 'I was born at night . '" New York Times, July 23, 1993, A1 The member will probably try simultaneously to serve his or her constituents and to act on questions of public policy.

As a body of many equal members, a legislature also develops elaborate internal organization. Legislatures' unique characteristics also lead to careful and fair procedures: legislatures express conflict, they express partisanship, and they do so in public view (Loewenberg and Patterson 1979, 23-24). Conflict Legislatures institutionalize conflict. As representative institutions, they are designed to encompass the diversity of their societies. They Page 8 are intended to mirror the whole society.

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