Separation of Powers and Accountability: Towards a Formal Approach to Comparative Politics
AbstractA political constitution is like an incomplete contract: it spells out a procedure for making decisions and for delegating power, without specifying the contents of those decisions. This creates a problem: the appointed policymaker could use this power for his own benefit against the interests of the citizens. In democracies, elections are the primary mechanism for disciplining public officials. But elections are not sufficient. Separation of powers between executive and legislative bodies also helps the voters, in two distinct ways. First, it can elicit information held by the appointed officials and not otherwise available to the voters. Second, by playing one body against the other and by aligning the interest of the weaker body with their own, the voters can induce the two bodies to discipline each other. Separation of power only works to the voters' advantage if it is appropriately designed, however, and it can be detrimental if it creates a ''common pool'' problem. These advantages of separation of powers are present both in Presidential and in Parliamentary democracies. Government appointment rules in Parliamentary democracies must be appropriately designed, however, to prevent collusion.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1475.
Date of creation: Sep 1996
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820
Other versions of this item:
- Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of powers and accountability: Towards a formal approach to comparative politics," Seminar Papers 612, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
- Persson, T & Roland, G & Tabellini, G, 1996. "Sparation of Powers and Accountability : Towards a Formal Approach to Comparative Politics," Papers 612, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "The information-aggregation approach to political institutions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 791-800, April.
- Berthold Herrendorf & Manfred Neumann, 2000.
"A nonnormative theory of inflation and central bank independence,"
Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv),
Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 315-333, June.
- Herrendorf, B. & Neumann, M.J.M., 1998. "A non-Normative Theory of Inflation and Central Bank Independence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 515, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
- Herrendorf, Berthold & Manfred J. M. Neumann, 1997. "A Non-normative Theory of Inflation and Central Bank Independence," Discussion Paper Serie B 400, University of Bonn, Germany.
- Wihlborg, Clas, 2005. "Solving the bargaining democracy problem using a constitutional hierarchy for law," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 655-673, April.
- Omar Azfar & William Nelson, 2007. "Transparency, wages, and the separation of powers: An experimental analysis of corruption," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 130(3), pages 471-493, March.
- Brown, David S. & Touchton, Michael & Whitford, Andrew, 2011. "Political Polarization as a Constraint on Corruption: A Cross-national Comparison," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(9), pages 1516-1529, September.
- Kausik Chaudhuri & Sugato Dasgupta, 2005. "The political determinants of central governments' economic policies in India: an empirical investigation," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(7), pages 957-978.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.