Determinants of Constitutional Change: Why Do Countries Change Their Form of Government?

50 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2010

See all articles by Bernd Hayo

Bernd Hayo

University of Marburg - School of Business & Economics

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Date Written: June 17, 2010

Abstract

A country’s form of government has important economic and political consequences, but the determinants that lead countries to choose either parliamentary or presidential systems are largely unexplored. This paper studies this choice by analyzing the factors that make countries switch from parliamentary to presidential systems (or vice versa). The analysis proceeds in two steps. First, we identify the survival probability of the existing form of government (drawing on a proportional hazard model). In our model, which is based on 169 countries, we find that geographical factors and former colonial status are important determinants of survival probability. Also, presidential systems are, ceteris paribus, more likely to survive than parliamentary ones. Second, given that a change has taken place, we identify the underlying reasons based on panel data logit models. We find that domestic political factors are more important than economic ones. The most important factors relate to intermediate internal armed conflict, sectarian political participation, degree of democratization, and party competition, as well as the extent to which knowledge resources are distributed among the members of society.

Keywords: constitutional change, institutional dynamics, form of government, endogenous constitutions, separation of powers

JEL Classification: H11, K10, P48

Suggested Citation

Hayo, Bernd and Voigt, Stefan, Determinants of Constitutional Change: Why Do Countries Change Their Form of Government? (June 17, 2010). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 3087. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1626123

Bernd Hayo

University of Marburg - School of Business & Economics ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 24
Marburg, D-35032
Germany
++49(0)6421-28-23091 (Phone)
++49(0)6421-28-23193 (Fax)

Stefan Voigt (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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