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Combining autocracy and majority voting: the canonical succession rules of the Latin Church

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  • Giuriato, Luisa

Abstract

The autocratic turn of the Latin Church in the XI-XIII century, a reaction to the secular power interferences, concentrated the decision-making power in the hands of the top hierarchy, and finally in the hands of the pope. A fundamental step was the change and the constitutionalisation of the procedures for leadership replacement, which were open successions where the contest for power was governed by elections. The autocratic reform limited the active electorate to the clergy only and gradually substituted the episcopal elections by the pope’s direct appointment. Besides, the voting rules changed from unanimity to the dual principle of maioritas et sanioritas (where the majority was identified with the greater part by number and wisdom) and finally to the numerical rule of qualified majority. This evolution aimed at preserving the elections from external interferences and at eliminating the elements of arbitrariness. The most important succession, the papal election, was protected by institutionalising a selectorate and its decision-making rules. The selectorate and the elections did not insert accountability and representation mechanisms but only protected the quality of the autocratic leadership and its autonomy.

Suggested Citation

  • Giuriato, Luisa, 2008. "Combining autocracy and majority voting: the canonical succession rules of the Latin Church," MPRA Paper 15164, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15164
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/15164/1/MPRA_paper_15164.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2000. "The Constitutional Economics of Autocratic Succession," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 63-84, April.
    2. Jody Overland & Kenneth Simons & Michael Spagat, 2005. "Political instability and growth in dictatorships," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(3), pages 445-470, December.
    3. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A., 2006. "Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 100(01), pages 115-131, February.
    4. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, December.
    5. Besley, Timothy J. & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 6371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Jonathan Klick & Francesco Parisi, 2003. "The Disunity of Unanimity," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 83-94, June.
    7. Grossman, Herschel I. & Noh, Suk Jae, 1994. "Proprietary public finance and economic welfare," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 187-204, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Theocracies; Autocracy; Succession rules;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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