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The Determinants of Emergency Constitutions

38 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2015 Last revised: 21 Jun 2016

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business; Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN); Center for Political Studies

Stefan Voigt

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

Date Written: March 23, 2016

Abstract

Nine out of ten countries currently have emergency provisions written into their constitutions. The nature of these provisions remains poorly understood. This paper therefore aims at providing first answers to two questions: 1) how much additional discretionary power do emergency constitutions allow and which political actors are given the additional power; and 2) which political and economic factors cause the inclusion of particular emergency provisions into constitutions. To answer the first question we construct an Indicator of Emergency Powers (INEP) which takes six central elements of emergency provisions explicitly into account. Structuring our discussion regarding reasons for the choice of emergency provisions, we discuss three theoretical motives, namely (1) a pragmatic, (2) a power-maximizing and (3) a more elaborate commitment motive. We test our theoretical conjectures and find that emergency constitutions in countries with stronger veto institutions, higher average income, and which recently experienced a coup allow more discretionary power while countries that are prone to natural disasters and countries far from the equator allow less power. Our findings are mostly in line with theoretical options 2) and 3).

Keywords: constitutional emergency provisions, state of emergency, état de siege, regime transformation

JEL Classification: K40, Z13

Suggested Citation

Bjørnskov, Christian and Voigt, Stefan, The Determinants of Emergency Constitutions (March 23, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2697144

Christian Bjørnskov

Aarhus University - Department of Economics and Business ( email )

Fuglesangs Allé 4
Aarhus V, DK-8210
Denmark

Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) ( email )

Box 55665
Grevgatan 34, 2nd floor
Stockholm, SE-102 15
Sweden

Center for Political Studies

Landgreven 3
Copenhagen K, DK-1301
Denmark

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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