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Endogenous Political Institutions

Author

Listed:
  • Philippe Aghion
  • Alberto Alesina
  • Francesco Trebbi

Abstract

A fundamental aspect of institutional design is how much society chooses to delegate unchecked power to its leaders. If, once elected, a leader cannot be restrained, society runs the risk of a tyranny of the majority, if not the tyranny of a dictator. If a leader faces too many ex post checks and balances, legislative action is too often blocked. As our critical constitutional choice, we focus upon the size of the minority needed to block legislation, or conversely the size of the (super)majority needed to govern. We analyze both "optimal" constitutional design and "positive" aspects of this process. We derive several empirical implications which we then discuss.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:119:y:2004:i:2:p:565-611.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1162/0033553041382148
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    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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