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Endogenous Presidentialism

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  • James A. Robinson
  • Ragnar Torvik

Abstract

We develop a model to understand the incidence of presidential and parliamentary institutions. Our analysis is predicated on two ideas: first, that minorities are relatively powerful in a parliamentary system compared to a presidential system, and second, that presidents have more power with respect to their own coalition than prime ministers do. These assumptions imply that while presidentialism has separation of powers, it does not necessarily have more checks and balances than parliamentarism. We show that presidentialism implies greater rent extraction and lower provision of public goods than parliamentarism. Moreover, political leaders who prefer presidentialism may be supported by their own coalition if they fear losing agenda setting power to another group. We argue that the model is consistent with a great deal of qualitative information about presidentialism in Africa and Latin America.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14603.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14603

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  1. 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.
  2. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 2000. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1121-1161, December.
  3. Alex Cobham (QEH), . "Causes of conflict in Sudan: Testing the Black Book," QEH Working Papers qehwps121, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  4. Mario Chacón & James A. Robinson & Ragnar Torvik, 2011. "When is Democracy an Equilibrium? Theory and Evidence from Colombia’s La Violencia," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 55(3), pages 366-396, June.
  5. Daniel Diermeier & Antoni Merlo, 1999. "An Empirical Investigation of Coalitional Bargaining Procedures," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1267, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  6. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  7. Martin J. Osborne & Al Slivinksi, 1995. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," Department of Economics Working Papers 1995-01, McMaster University.
  8. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey., 1987. "Elections, Coalitions, and Legislative Outcomes," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 643, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Diermeier, Daniel & Fong, Pohan, 2012. "Characterization of the von Neumann–Morgenstern stable set in a non-cooperative model of dynamic policy-making with a persistent agenda setter," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 349-353.
  3. Daniel Diermeier & Pohan Fong, 2011. "Legislative Bargaining with Reconsideration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 947-985.
  4. Stefan Voigt, 2009. "Positive Constitutional Economics II—A Survey of Recent Developments," MAGKS Papers on Economics, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung) 200936, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  5. Tine Søreide, 2012. "Democracy's shortcomings in anti-corruption," CMI Working Papers 10, CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute), Bergen, Norway.
  6. Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Empirical constitutional economics: Onward and upward?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 319-330.
  7. 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).
  8. Daniel Diermeier & Pohan Fong, 2011. "Bargaining over the budget," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 565-589, April.
  9. Jean-Marie Baland & Karl-Ove Moene & James A. Robinson, 2009. "Governance and Development," Working Papers 1007, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  10. Andersen, Jørgen Juel & Aslaksen, Silje, 2013. "Oil and political survival," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 100(1), pages 89-106.

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