Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs

64 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2008 Last revised: 5 Sep 2008

See all articles by Daron Acemoglu

Daron Acemoglu

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; NBER

Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Harris Public Policy; Higher School of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: August 2008

Abstract

A central feature of dynamic collective decision-making is that the rules that govern the procedures for future decision-making and the distribution of political power across players are determined by current decisions. For example, current constitutional change must take into account how the new constitution may pave the way for further changes in laws and regulations. We develop a general framework for the analysis of this class of dynamic problems. Under relatively natural acyclicity assumptions, we provide a complete characterization of dynamically stable states as functions of the initial state and determine conditions for their uniqueness. We show how this framework can be applied in political economy, coalition formation, and the analysis of the dynamics of clubs. The explicit characterization we provide highlights two intuitive features of dynamic collective decision-making: (1) a social arrangement is made stable by the instability of alternative arrangements that are preferred by sufficiently many members of the society; (2) efficiency-enhancing changes are often resisted because of further social changes that they will engender.

Suggested Citation

Acemoglu, Daron and Egorov, Georgy and Sonin, Konstantin, Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs (August 2008). NBER Working Paper No. w14239. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1230860

Daron Acemoglu (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Georgy Egorov

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

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Konstantin Sonin

University of Chicago - Harris Public Policy ( email )

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Higher School of Economics ( email )

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Russia

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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United Kingdom

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