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Constitutional Rules

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  • Francesco Giovannoni
  • Toke S. Aidt

Abstract

This paper proposes a normative theory of constitutional rules. We characterize the set of optimal constitutional rules under different assumptions about the degree of contractual imperfections. Our model explains why constitutions contain different types of rules. In particular, we derive conditions under which it is optimal, in addition to a standard decision rule (e.g., simple majority), to introduce veto rules (that block certain types of decisions) and supermajority rules (that allow the veto rule to be overruled). Our model also explains the existence of amendment rules and checks and balances

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File URL: http://repec.org/esNASM04/up.25897.1075585313.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Econometric Society in its series Econometric Society 2004 North American Summer Meetings with number 540.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ecm:nasm04:540

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Keywords: Constitutions; constitutional design; social contracts; majority rules; amendments; checks and balances;

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References

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  1. Gersbach, Hans, 2005. "Democratic Mechanisms: Double Majority Rules and Flexible Agenda Costs," CEPR Discussion Papers 5013, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1999. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 115-38, January.
  3. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Mueller, Dennis C, 1991. "Constitutional Rights," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 313-33, Fall.
  6. Salvador BARBER?Author-Email: salvador.barbera@uab.es & Matthew O. JACKSON, 2003. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 596.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Matthias Messner & Mattias K. Polborn, 2004. "Voting on Majority Rules," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 115-132.
  8. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2006. "Self-Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1137-1158, September.
  9. Philippe Aghion & Albero Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1957, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2002. "Endogenous constitutions," Economics Working Papers 896, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2005.
  11. Giovannoni, Francesco, 2003. " Amendment Rules in Constitutions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 37-61, April.
  12. Voigt, Stefan, 1997. " Positive Constitutional Economics: A Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 11-53, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Aidt, T.S. & Giovannoni,F., 2005. "Critical Decisions and Constitutional Rules," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0523, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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