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Equilibrium institutions: the federal-proportional trade-off

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  • Josep Colomer

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Abstract

Durable democracies display a huge variety of combinations of basic institutional formulas. A quantitative logical model shows that while there are multiple equilibrium sets of institutions, each involves some trade-off between the size of the country, the territorial structure of government and the electoral system. Specifically, the larger the country, the more important is federalism in comparison to proportional representation electoral rules for the durability of democratic institutions. The explanatory power of the model is positively tested on all current durable democratic countries. It is also illustrated with a few both fitting and deviant cases. A relevant implication is that the room for manipulation of the choice of institutions is large, but not unlimited, as the choices for a durable democracy are constrained by bounded trade-offs between the values of major institutional variables. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Josep Colomer, 2014. "Equilibrium institutions: the federal-proportional trade-off," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 158(3), pages 559-576, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:158:y:2014:i:3:p:559-576
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-012-0014-1
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-012-0014-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carles Boix, 1999. "Setting the rules of the game: The choice of electoral systems in advanced democracies," Economics Working Papers 367, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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