Proposals for power-sharing constitutions remain controversial, as highlighted by current debates in Iraq, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Sudan. This book updates and refines the theory of consociationalism, taking account of the flood of contemporary innovations in power-sharing institutions that have occurred worldwide. The book classifies and compares four types of political institutions: the electoral system, parliamentary or presidential executives, unitary or federal states, and the structure and independence of the mass media. The study tests the potential advantages and disadvantages of each of these institutions for democratic governance. Cross-national time–series data concerning trends in democracy are analyzed for all countries worldwide since the early 1970s. Chapters are enriched by comparing detailed case studies. The mixed-method research design illuminates the underlying causal mechanisms by examining historical developments and processes of institutional change within particular nations and regions. The conclusion draws together the results and the practical lessons for policymakers.