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Constitutions and Order: A theory and comparative evidence from Colombia and the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Fergusson, Leopoldo

    (Facultad de Economía, Universidad de los Andes)

  • Mejía, Javier

    (Department of Political Science, Stanford University,)

  • Robinson, James A.

    (University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy and Department of Political Science)

  • Torres, Santiago

    (The Pearson Institute, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago,)

Abstract

We propose a framework to explain why some societies may end up with different constitutional solutions to the problem of maintaining order in the face of self-interested behavior. Though the salient intellectual tradition since Hobbes has focused on how institutional design is used to eradicate violence, our framework illustrates that equilibrium constitutions may in fact have to deliberately allow for violence. This arises because some societies are unable to use institutions to influence income distribution. In this case, a constitutional tolerance of violence emerges as a credible way for an incumbent to meet the participation constraint of a challenger. We illustrate the results with the comparative constitutional history of the US and Colombia.

Suggested Citation

  • Fergusson, Leopoldo & Mejía, Javier & Robinson, James A. & Torres, Santiago, 2023. "Constitutions and Order: A theory and comparative evidence from Colombia and the United States," Documentos CEDE 20815, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:020815
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Order; Constitutions; Violence; Institutions.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H19 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Other
    • P00 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - General - - - General

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