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They were given a list of thirty-two yes-or-no questions grouped into four areas. For example, can the legislature remove the leader from office? There was a three-way tie for what Professor Kroenig calls the strongest legislature in the world: Germany, Italy and Mongolia.

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At the same time, two countries, Burma and Somalia, have none of the thirty-two legislative powers. The study found that Kenya's parliament has only about one-third of these powers. In the recent elections there, the opposition won ninety-five of the one hundred twenty-six seats in parliament. Yet it did not win the presidency.

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Deadly violence broke out as the opposition protested what it said was a stolen election. Professor Kroenig says strong legislatures can help prevent civil wars. The idea is that when many groups compete for power, no single individual or group can take control.

Also, the public in general can create change through the legislative process. The study leads Matt Kroenig to think that countries with strong legislatures will have higher levels of economic growth.

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He also thinks they will be less likely to get involved in international wars. But more research is needed to confirm these theories.

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Correction: This report says the Kenyan parliament has seats and that the opposition won 95 of them in recent elections. In fact, the leading opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement, had won 95 out of seats reported at the time.

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