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Determinants of constitutional change: Why do countries change their form of government?

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  • Hayo, Bernd
  • Voigt, Stefan

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.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Comparative Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 283-305

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:283-305

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622864

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Keywords: Constitutional change Institutional dynamics Form of government Endogenous constitutions Separation of powers;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Global Warming And Extreme Events: Rethinking The Timing And Intensity Of Environmental Policy," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 236, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  2. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 3-19.
  3. Bernd Hayo & Stefan Voigt, 2010. "Endogenous Constitutions: Politics and Politicians Matter, Economic Outcomes Don’t," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201027, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  4. Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Empirical constitutional economics: Onward and upward?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 319-330.

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