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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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  1. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2004. "How Do Electoral Rules Shape Party Structures, Government Coalitions, and Economic Policies?," CESifo Working Paper Series, CESifo Group Munich 1115, CESifo Group Munich.
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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, Economic Studies, University of Dundee 236, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
  2. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University 123456789/7073, Paris Dauphine University.
  3. Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2013. "Endogenous constitutions: Politics and politicians matter, economic outcomes don’t," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 47-61.
  4. Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Empirical constitutional economics: Onward and upward?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 319-330.

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