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Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs

  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Georgy Egorov
  • Konstantin Sonin

A central feature of dynamic collective decision-making is that the rules that govern the procedures for future decision-making and the distribution of political power across players are determined by current decisions. For example, current constitutional change must take into account how the new constitution may pave the way for further changes in laws and regulations. We develop a general framework for the analysis of this class of dynamic problems. Under relatively natural acyclicity assumptions, we provide a complete characterization of dynamically stable states as functions of the initial state and determine conditions for their uniqueness. We show how this framework can be applied in political economy, coalition formation, and the analysis of the dynamics of clubs. The explicit characterization we provide highlights two intuitive features of dynamic collective decision-making: (1) a social arrangement is made stable by the instability of alternative arrangements that are preferred by sufficiently many members of the society; (2) efficiency-enhancing changes are often resisted because of further social changes that they will engender.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14239.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as Daron Acemoglu & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2012. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1446-76, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14239
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