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Determinants of constitutional change: Why do countries change their form of government?

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  • Hayo, Bernd
  • Voigt, Stefan

Abstract

A country's form of government has important economic and political consequences, but the determinants that lead countries to choose either parliamentary or presidential systems are largely unexplored. This paper studies this choice by analyzing the factors that make countries switch from parliamentary to presidential systems (or vice versa). The analysis proceeds in two steps. First, we identify the survival probability of the existing form of government (drawing on a proportional hazard model). In our model, which is based on 169 countries, we find that geographical factors and former colonial status are important determinants of survival probability. Also, presidential systems are, ceteris paribus, more likely to survive than parliamentary ones. Second, given that a change has taken place, we identify the underlying reasons based on panel data logit models. We find that domestic political factors are more important than economic ones. The most important factors relate to intermediate internal armed conflict, sectarian political participation, degree of democratization, and party competition, as well as the extent to which knowledge resources are distributed among the members of society.

Suggested Citation

  • Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2010. "Determinants of constitutional change: Why do countries change their form of government?," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 283-305, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:283-305
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Joseph Keneck Massil, 2015. "Economie constitutionnelle en Afrique: analyse empirique du changement de l’article sur la limitation de mandat des présidents," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-33, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    2. Voigt, Stefan, 2011. "Empirical constitutional economics: Onward and upward?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 319-330.
    3. Yu-Fu Chen & Michael Funke, 2010. "Global Warming And Extreme Events: Rethinking The Timing And Intensity Of Environmental Policy," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 236, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    4. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Lopes da Fonseca, Mariana, 2016. "Electoral competition and endogenous political institutions: Quasi-experimental evidence from Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 43-61.
    5. Jan Fałkowski & Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2015. "Przyczyny ustanawiania i stabilność konstytucji państwa - perspektywa ekonomiczna," Gospodarka Narodowa, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 79-105.
    6. Brousseau, Eric & Garrouste, Pierre & Raynaud, Emmanuel, 2011. "Institutional changes: Alternative theories and consequences for institutional design," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 79(1-2), pages 3-19, June.
    7. Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2013. "Endogenous constitutions: Politics and politicians matter, economic outcomes don’t," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 47-61.
    8. Richard McManus & F Gulcin Ozkan, 2017. "Who does better for the economy? Presidents versus parliamentary democracies," Discussion Papers 17/03, Department of Economics, University of York.
    9. Eric Ip, 2015. "The constitution of economic liberty in Hong Kong," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 307-327, September.
    10. Hayo, Bernd & Voigt, Stefan, 2016. "Explaining constitutional change: The case of judicial independence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 1-13.
    11. Lorenz Blume & Bernd Hayo & Stefan Voigt, 2015. "Correlates and Determinants of Direct Democracy," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201501, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    12. Joseph Keneck Massil, 2015. "Fondement historique de la qualité des institutions politiques : l’expérience parlementaire à l’indépendance," EconomiX Working Papers 2015-29, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Constitutional change Institutional dynamics Form of government Endogenous constitutions Separation of powers;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • K11 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Property Law
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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