Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions
AbstractConstitutional arrangements affect the decisions made by a society. We study how this effect leads to preferences of citizens over constitutions; and ultimately how this has a feedback that determines which constitutions can survive in a given society. Constitutions are stylized here, to consist of a voting rule for ordinary business and possibly different voting rule for making changes to the constitution. We deffine an equilibrium notion for constitutions, called self-stability, whereby under the rules of a self-stable constitution, the society would not vote to change the constitution. We argue that only self-stable constitutions will endure. We prove that self-stable constitutions always exist, but that most constitutions (even very prominent ones) may not be self-stable for some societies. We show that constitutions where the voting rule used to amend the constitution is the same as the voting rule used for ordinary business are dangerously simplistic, and there are (many) societies for which no such constitution is self-stable rule. We conclude with a characterization of the set of self-stable constitutions that use majority rule for ordinary business.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 596.03.
Date of creation: 17 Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Other versions of this item:
- Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1011-1048, August.
- Jackson, Matthew O. & Barbera, Salvador, 2002. "Choosing How Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules," Working Papers 1145, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
- Salvador Barberà & Matthew O. Jackson, 2000. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," Working Papers 57, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
- Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2002. "Choosing How to Choose: Self Stable Majority Rules," Microeconomics 0211003, EconWPA.
- D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
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