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Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions and Clubs

  • Konstantin Sonin

    (New Economic School)

  • Georgy Egorov

    (Harvard)

  • Daron Acemoglu

    (MIT)

A central feature of collective decision-making in many social groups, such as political coalitions, international unions, or private clubs, is that the rules that govern regulations, procedures for future decision-making, and inclusion and exclusion of members are made by the current members and under the current regulations. This feature implies that dynamic collective decisions must recognize the implications of current decisions on future decisions. For example, current constitutional change must recognize how the new constitution will open the way for further changes in laws and regulations. We develop a general framework for the analysis of this class of problems. We provide both an axiomatic and a noncooperative characterization of dynamically stable states and show that, under relatively mild assumptions, these exist and are unique. We then apply our framework to a variety of problems in political economy, in coalition formation, and in the analysis of the dynamics of clubs. Major insights that emerges from this framework are: (1) a particular 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 the further social changes that they will engender.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2008 Meeting Papers with number 314.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed008:314
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Christian Zimmermann Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis PO Box 442 St. Louis MO 63166-0442 USA
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Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/society.htm
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  1. Jackson, Matthew O. & Moselle, Boaz, 2002. "Coalition and Party Formation in a Legislative Voting Game," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 49-87, March.
  2. Roger Lagunoff, 2006. "Dynamic Stability and Reform of Political Institutions," Levine's Bibliography 784828000000000051, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  12. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  13. Alessandro Lizzeri & Nicola Persico, 2004. "Why Did the Elites Extend the Suffrage? Democracy and the Scope of Government, With an Application to Britain's "Age of Reform"," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 705-763, May.
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