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Ideology and Endogenous Constitutions

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  • University of Montreal
  • Alessandro Riboni
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    Abstract

    A legislature has to reach a collective decision in either of two states of nature. In the first state, legislators vote over an ideological issue. In this state, legislators may not vote for the pragmatic (optimal) policy and, instead, confirm voters' ideological bias. In the second state, the legislature handles an issue that is not ideologically charged. We find the optimal majority rule under the veil of ignorance. The chosen majority rule affects (i) the nature and quality of policy reforms, (ii) the probability that changes are made (iii) the incentives of legislators with ideological constituencies to become agenda setter. We find that in some cases the optimal majority rule is hump-shaped with respect to ideological polarization. Finally, we test some of our theoretical predictions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 988.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:988

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    1. Bénabou, Roland & Tirole, Jean, 2005. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," CEPR Discussion Papers 4952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
      [The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    3. Alesina, A. & Drazen, A., 1991. "Why Are Stabilizations Delayed?," Papers 6-91, Tel Aviv - the Sackler Institute of Economic Studies.
    4. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    5. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Olivera, 2004. "What makes reforms likely: Political economy determinants of reforms in Latin America," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 99-135, May.
    6. DanielJ. Seidmann, 2008. "Optimal Quotas in Private Committees," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 16-36, 01.
    7. James M. Snyder, 2005. "Why Roll Calls? A Model of Position-Taking in Legislative Voting and Elections," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 153-178, April.
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