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Presidential Address: Consequences of Constitutions

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  • Torsten Persson

    (Stockholm University, LSE, CEPR, and NBER,)

Abstract

The paper presents empirical findings regarding the economic policy consequences of constitutional arrangements, in three different dimensions. First, the data are consistent with several theoretical predictions about the consequences of electoral rules and forms of government for fiscal policy and rent extraction, even when non-random constitution selection is taken into account. Second, empirical tests of the predictions from a new comprehensive model of parliamentary democracy show that proportional elections raise government spending through their indirect consequences for party structures and types of government, rather than through their direct effects on policymaking incentives. Third, new empirical results suggest that constitutional arrangements may have important consequences for structural policies that promote long-run economic performance, hinting at a missing link in the causal chain from history to current economic performance. All these empirical findings appear statistically robust, and the estimated effects are large enough to be of genuine economic interest. (JEL: D72, E60, H00, O11) Copyright (c) 2004 The European Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Journal of the European Economic Association.

Volume (Year): 2 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04/05)
Pages: 139-161

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:2:y:2004:i:2-3:p:139-161

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Cited by:
  1. Cecilia García-Peñalosa & Maty Konte, 2013. "Why Are Women Less Democratic Than Men? Evidence from Sub-Saharan African Countries," Working Papers halshs-00802838, HAL.
  2. Cingolani, Luciana & Crombrugghe, Denis de, 2012. "Techniques for dealing with reverse causality between institutions and economic performance," MERIT Working Papers 034, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
  3. Emmanuel Flachaire & Cecilia Garcìa-Peñalosa & Maty Konte, 2011. "Political versus Economic Institutions in the Growth Process," Working Papers halshs-00586038, HAL.
  4. Toke Aidt & Jayasri Dutta & Vania Sena, 2006. "Governance Regimes, Corruption and Growth: Theory and Evidence," Discussion Papers 15_2006, D.E.S. (Department of Economic Studies), University of Naples "Parthenope", Italy.
  5. Aidt, T. & Dutta, J. & Vania Sena, 2005. "Growth, Governance and Corruption in the Presence of Threshold Effects: Theory and Evidence," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0540, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  6. Justesen, Mogens K., 2012. "Democracy, dictatorship, and disease: Political regimes and HIV/AIDS," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 373-389.
  7. Michael Breen & Robert Gillanders, 2012. "Corruption, institutions and regulation," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 263-285, September.
  8. Andreas Freytag & Sebastian Voll, 2013. "Institutions and savings in developing and emerging economies," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 475-509, December.

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