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Executive Constraint, Political Stability and Economic Growth

28 Pages Posted: 14 Jun 2015  

Gary W. Cox

Stanford University

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 13, 2015

Abstract

Previous studies have argued that democracy diminishes the extent to which contests over political leadership depress economic growth, by reducing the violence and uncertainty attendant on such contests. We reconsider the theoretical basis for this claim, highlighting the separate roles of executive constraint and electoral accountability. Exploiting panel data from 1850-2005, we show that the executive’s horizontal accountability to the legislature significantly moderates the economic downturns associated with leadership turnover, while its vertical accountability to the electorate does not. These results suggest that, in terms of moderating succession-related downturns and thereby promoting steadier economic growth, the health of legislatures is more important than the health of elections.

Keywords: Democracy, elections, executive constraints, political stability, economic growth

JEL Classification: H11, O57

Suggested Citation

Cox, Gary W. and Weingast, Barry R., Executive Constraint, Political Stability and Economic Growth (June 13, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2618059 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2618059

Gary Cox

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-723-4278 (Phone)

Barry Weingast (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-723-0497 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stanford.edu/group/mcnollgast/cgi-bin/wordpress/

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