On Legislatures looks at why people support their individual representatives but continue to criticise the legislative system at every opportunity. Although legislatures exist in every political system and are meant to represent the people, they are generally disparaged because they appear both unrepresentative and indecisive. Gerhard Loewenberg explains this puzzling contradiction by examining what representation means and what it takes for a large number of equally representative members to reach decisions. It also describes the methods for studying legislatures that have been developed in the social sciences in the last half century and shows their importance in democratic societies throughout the world. On Legislatures gets to the heart of the current disconnect between legislatures and the public they are supposed to represent.
"Drawing on a professional lifetime of exemplary research on legislatures around the globe and his masterful stewardship of Legislative Studies Quarterly, Loewenberg has written a wonderful book--informative, engaging, and wise. I can't imagine a better exposition of why and how to think comparatively about the legislative institution."
--Thomas E. Mann, The Brookings Institution
“Legislatures are ubiquitous but not always well understood or appreciated by the people they seek to represent. Gerhard Loewenberg offers a masterful overview of the puzzles presented by legislatures as representative institutions. His coverage is as comprehensive as his writing is elegant. This is an essential reading for all those with an interest in the future of representative democracy.”
—Philip Lord Norton of Louth, The University of Hull
“On Legislatures is an invaluable contribution to the study of legislative politics that is well-designed to move the field forward in critical ways. As a start, it should be assigned as an opening text in all serious upper division and graduate courses on legislative politics… Courses on specific legislatures will benefit from the ways in which Loewenberg highlights macro differences among legislatures… his continuing focus on the unique aspects of the American Congress make the book particularly valuable for courses on the Congress. In addition, On Legislatures could serve as a foundation book in the creation of courses on comparative legislatures: the endnotes provide a rich array of citations that the energetic teacher can utilize in constructing such a course and the book itself can serve as a central text. With On Legislatures, Gerhard Loewenberg has performed yet another great service to the field of legislative scholarship, reinforcing his position as one of the eminent legislative scholars of the post-World War II era.”
—Lawrence C. Dodd, University of Florida