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The Economic Effects of Constitutions: Replicating – and Extending – Persson and Tabellini

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  • Lorenz Blume
  • Jens Müller
  • Stefan Voigt
  • Carsten Wolf

Abstract

Persson and Tabellini (2003) show that presidential regimes and majoritarian election systems have important effects on fiscal policy, government effectiveness and productivity. Here, their dataset is extended in a number of ways: the number of countries included is increased from 85 to up to 116, and more recent data for both government effectiveness and productivity are used. In replicating and extending their analyses, we find that the effect of presidential regimes on all three groups of economic variables vanishes almost entirely. With regard to electoral systems, the original results are largely confirmed: majoritarian (as opposed to proportional) electoral systems lead to lower government expenditure, lower levels of rent seeking but also lower output per worker. The institutional details such as the proportion of candidates that are not elected via party lists and the district magnitude have proved to be of particular importance. The question whether societies can improve their lot by choosing specific constitutional rules remains open.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2017.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2017

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  1. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  3. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  4. Brennan, Geoffrey & Kliemt, Hartmut, 1994. "Finite Lives and Social Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 551-71.
  5. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Maria Bas & Ivan Ledezma, 2007. "Market Access and the Evolution of within Plant Productivity in Chile," CESifo Working Paper Series 2077, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Bernd Hayo & Stefan Voigt, 2010. "Determinants of Constitutional Change: Why Do Countries Change Their Form of Government?," MAGKS Papers on Economics, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) 201006, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  3. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
  4. Simon Wigley & Arzu Akkoyunlu-Wigley, 2011. "Do electoral institutions have an impact on population health?," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 595-610, September.
  5. George Crowley, 2012. "Spatial dependence in constitutional constraints: the case of US states," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 134-165, June.
  6. Casper Hunnerup Dahl, 2014. "Parties and institutions: empirical evidence on veto players and the growth of government," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 415-433, June.
  7. Olper, Alessandro & Raimondi, Valentina, 2013. "Electoral rules, forms of government and redistributive policy: Evidence from agriculture and food policies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 141-158.
  8. Stefan Voigt & Lorenz Blume, 2009. "The Economic Effects of Federalism and Decentralization - A Cross-Country Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 2766, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Rockey, James, 2012. "Reconsidering the fiscal effects of constitutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 313-323.
  10. 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.
  11. Blume, Lorenz & Voigt, Stefan, 2013. "The economic effects of constitutional budget institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 236-251.
  12. Marco Portmann & David Stadelmann & Reiner Eichenberger, 2012. "District magnitude and representation of the majority’s preferences: Evidence from popular and parliamentary votes," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 585-610, June.
  13. Voigt, Stefan, 2009. "Explaining constitutional garrulity," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 290-303, December.
  14. Dina Balalaeva, 2012. "Innovations as Public Goods Provision with Negative Externalities: Role of Parliamentarism," HSE Working papers, National Research University Higher School of Economics WP BRP 06/PS/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.

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