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Constitutional Rules

  • Toke S Aidt
  • Francesco Giovannoni

    ()

This paper proposes a normative theory of constitutional rules. The first-best cannot be achieved whenever constitutional rules cannot be made contingent on information about the costs and benefits of policy reforms. We characterize and welfare rank four classes of second best constitutions: constitutions that specify one rule for all types of decisions; constitutions that provide incentives for information about costs and benefits to be revealed; constitutions that allow for vetoes from interested parties and constitutions that specify different rules for different policy areas. In addition, we provide conditions for the existence of amendment rules that allow for changes to the original constitutional rules after the constitutional stage. Finally, we provide a new rationale for the existence of checks and balances.

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File URL: http://www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/CMPO/workingpapers/wp109.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 04/109.

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Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:04/109
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  1. Torsten Persson & Gérard Roland & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
  3. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of Incomplete Contracts," NBER Working Papers 6726, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hans Gersbach, 2002. "Democratic Mechanisms: Double Majority Rules and Flexible Agenda Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 749, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  6. Voigt, Stefan, 1997. "Positive Constitutional Economics: A Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 11-53, March.
  7. Salvador Barbera & Matthew O. Jackson, 2004. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(3), pages 1011-1048.
  8. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2003. "Self Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," NBER Working Papers 10102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Matthias Messner & Mattias K. Polborn, 2004. "Voting on Majority Rules," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 115-132.
  10. Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "Endogenous Constitutions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(543), pages 1-39, 03.
  11. Jackson, Matthew O. & Barbera, Salvador, 2002. "Choosing How Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules," Working Papers 1145, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  12. Mueller, Dennis C, 1991. "Constitutional Rights," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 313-33, Fall.
  13. Giovannoni, Francesco, 2003. "Amendment Rules in Constitutions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 37-61, April.
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