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Endogenous Political Institutions

55 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2002  

Philippe Aghion

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Francesco Trebbi

Vancouver School of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 4 versions of this paper

Date Written: November 2002

Abstract

A fundamental aspect of institutional design is how much society chooses to delegate unchecked power to its leaders. If, once elected, a leader cannot be restrained, society runs the risk of a tyranny of the majority, if not the tyranny of a dictator. If a leader faces too many ex post checks and balances, legislative action is too often blocked. As our critical constitutional choice we focus upon the size of the minority needed to block legislation, or conversely the size of the (super) majority needed to govern. We analyse both 'optimal' constitutional design and 'positive' aspects of this process. We derive several empirical implications, which we then discuss.

Keywords: Political systems, endogenous constitutions, super-majority rule

JEL Classification: 030, H10, O50

Suggested Citation

Aghion, Philippe and Alesina, Alberto F. and Trebbi, Francesco, Endogenous Political Institutions (November 2002). CEPR Discussion Paper No. 3473. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=358600

Philippe Aghion

College de France and London School of Economics and Political Science, Fellow ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8388 (Phone)
617-495-7730 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

77 Bastwick Street
London, EC1V 3PZ
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Francesco Trebbi

Vancouver School of Economics ( email )

University of British Columbia
6000 Iona Dr.
Vancouver Canada, BC V6T 1L4
Canada

HOME PAGE: http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/ftrebbi/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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