The Complete Story Behind Powerful Political Institutions

How They Impact Law, Economy and Culture

Capitol and blue sky
The United States of America is composed of several prominent political institutions. L. Toshio Kishiyama / Getty Images

Political institutions are organizations which create, enforce and apply laws. They often mediate conflict, make (governmental) policy on the economy and social systems and otherwise provide representation for the populous. Learn how political institutions impact the law, economy, culture, and society as a whole.

Parties, Trade Unions, and Courts

Examples of such political institutions include political parties, trade unions, and the (legal) courts.

The term 'Political Institutions' may also refer to the recognized structure of rules and principles within which the above organizations operate, including such concepts as the right to vote, responsible government and accountability.

Political Institutions, in Brief

Political institutions and systems have a direct impact on the business environment and activities of a country. For example, a political system that is straightforward and evolving when it comes to political participation of the people and laser-focused on the well-being of its citizens contributes to positive economic growth in its region.

Every society must have a type of political system so it may allocate resources and ongoing procedures appropriately. Along the same concept, a political institution sets the rules in which an orderly society obeys and ultimately decides and administers the laws for those that do not obey appropriately.

Extended Definition

The political system consists of both politics and government and involves the law, economy, culture and additional social concepts.

The most popular political systems that we know of around the world can be reduced to a few simple core concepts. Many additional types of political systems are similar in idea or root, but most tend to surround concepts of:

  • Democracy: A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
  • Republic: A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch.
  • Monarchy: A form of government in which one person reigns, typically a king or a queen. The authority, also known as a crown, is typically inherited.
  • Communism: A system of government in which the state plans and controls the economy. Often, an authoritarian party holds power and state controls are imposed.
  • Dictatorship: A form of government where one person makes the main rules and decisions with absolute power, disregarding input from others.

The Function of a Political System

In 1960, Almond and Coleman gathered three core functions of a political system which includes: 

  1. To maintain integration of society by determining norms.
  2. To adapt and change elements of social, economic, religious systems necessary for achieving collective (political) goals.
  3. To protect the integrity of the political system from outside threats.

In modern day society in the United States, for example, the main function of the two core political parties are seen as a way to represent interest groups, represent constituents and to create policies while minimizing choices.

Overall, the idea is to make legislative processes easier for people to understand and engage with.

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Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "The Complete Story Behind Powerful Political Institutions." ThoughtCo, Nov. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/political-institutions-44026. Boddy-Evans, Alistair. (2017, November 2). The Complete Story Behind Powerful Political Institutions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/political-institutions-44026 Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "The Complete Story Behind Powerful Political Institutions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/political-institutions-44026 (accessed January 19, 2018).