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The Economic Effects of Constitutions: Replicating – and Extending – Persson and Tabellini

  • Lorenz Blume
  • Jens Müller
  • Stefan Voigt
  • Carsten Wolf

Persson and Tabellini (2003) show that presidential regimes and majoritarian election systems have important effects on fiscal policy, government effectiveness and productivity. Here, their dataset is extended in a number of ways: the number of countries included is increased from 85 to up to 116, and more recent data for both government effectiveness and productivity are used. In replicating and extending their analyses, we find that the effect of presidential regimes on all three groups of economic variables vanishes almost entirely. With regard to electoral systems, the original results are largely confirmed: majoritarian (as opposed to proportional) electoral systems lead to lower government expenditure, lower levels of rent seeking but also lower output per worker. The institutional details such as the proportion of candidates that are not elected via party lists and the district magnitude have proved to be of particular importance. The question whether societies can improve their lot by choosing specific constitutional rules remains open.

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File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/portal/page/portal/DocBase_Content/WP/WP-CESifo_Working_Papers/wp-cesifo-2007/wp-cesifo-2007-06/cesifo1_wp2017.pdf
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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2017.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2017
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  1. Nicola Persico & Alessandro Lizzeri, 2001. "The Provision of Public Goods under Alternative Electoral Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 225-239, March.
  2. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  3. Brennan, Geoffrey & Kliemt, Hartmut, 1994. "Finite Lives and Social Institutions," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(4), pages 551-71.
  4. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  5. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
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