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Can democracy induce development? A constitutional perspective

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  • Hans Gersbach
  • Lars-H. Siemers

Abstract

We examine the constitutional design required for democratic societies to overcome poverty traps. Restricting agenda setting by ensuring subsistence levels of consumption and applying simple majority voting as a decision rule will not enable a society to overcome poverty. We show that a combination of suitable constitutional rules can, however, overcome poverty and induce economic well-being. Besides majority voting, these rules include rotating agenda setting, agenda repetition, and tax-protection rules. We thus highlight the crucial role of democratic institutions for economic development. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Hans Gersbach & Lars-H. Siemers, 2014. "Can democracy induce development? A constitutional perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 177-196, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:159:y:2014:i:1:p:177-196
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-012-0036-8
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Constitutional design; Institutions; Poverty traps; Redistribution; Tax allowances; Voting rules; D72; E62; H23; H53; O11;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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