Ideology and Endogenous Constitutions

45 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2009 Last revised: 17 Dec 2009

See all articles by Alessandro Riboni

Alessandro Riboni

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris - Laboratoire d'Econometrie

Date Written: March 27, 2009


A legislature has to deal with an issue that is ideologically charged. We show that when the status quo is sufficiently inefficient, more constraints on the executive may lead to more and better reforms. When instead the status quo is close to the efficient policy, high majority requirements may be suboptimal. Suppose that the majority rule is chosen before knowing the location of the status quo. We show that when ideological bias is not too large, institutions in which the executive has either no constraints (i.e., autocracy) or many constraints (i.e., unanimity) are preferable to democracies that operate under simple majority rule. This paper thus provides a justification for the adoption of consociational forms of democracy for ideologically divided countries, provided that the level of ideological polarization is not too high.

Keywords: Voting Rule, Position-Taking Preferences, Ideology, Consociational vs. Majoritarian Democracy

JEL Classification: D7, D02

Suggested Citation

Riboni, Alessandro, Ideology and Endogenous Constitutions (March 27, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Alessandro Riboni (Contact Author)

Ecole Polytechnique, Paris - Laboratoire d'Econometrie ( email )

1 rue Descartes
Paris, 75005

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