Governance in a small state. A comparative analysis of legislative processes in Liechtenstein


The research project analyses modes of governance in the legislative processes of small states. Focussing on Liechtenstein, it applies descriptive, theoretical and normative approaches. Main research questions:

  1. How can legislative processes in the political system of Liechtenstein be accurately described? Who are the key political actors (under which circumstances)? How can the interplay of key actors be described and analysed using typologies from the research on governance? 
  2. What is the impact of smallness on modes of public governance? What relevant assumptions can be deduced from small states theory? To what extent can these hypotheses be verified or falsified in the case of Liechtenstein? Does the empirical analysis allow one to draw more general conclusions - whether divergent or complementary - about the structures of governance and modes of collective decision-making in very small political systems? Are there structural differences compared to large states? 
  3. How can the legislative processes in Liechtenstein be assessed from the perspective of democratic theory? Where can meaningful criteria for such a normative analysis be obtained? What institutional reform proposals should be developed in the event of democratic deficits? 


These three bundles of questions already contain the main research objectives. The project aims to:

  1. generate knowledge about actual political decision-making processes and regulatory structures in the small state of Liechtenstein (descriptive-analytical objective); 
  2. develop and test hypotheses about modes of governance in small political systems and thus contribute to governance and small states theory (theoretical objective); 
  3. assess the constitutional reality of Liechtenstein in respect of legislative processes and show, if necessary, possible options for institutional reform (normative / policy-oriented objective).