How much influence do citizens have to control the government? What guides voters at election time? Why do governments survive? How do institutions modify the power of the people over politicians? The book combines academic analytical rigor with comparative analysis to identify how much information voters must have to select a politician for office, or for holding a government accountable; whether parties in power can help voters to control their governments; how different institutional arrangements influence voters' control; why politicians choose particular electoral systems; and what economic and social conditions may undermine not only governments, but democracy. Arguments are backed by vast macro and micro empirical evidence. There are cross-country comparisons and survey analyses of many countries. In every case there has been an attempt to integrate analytical arguments and empirical research. The goal is to shed new light on perplexing questions of positive democratic theory.