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Ideology and Endogenous Constitutions

  • University of Montreal
  • Alessandro Riboni
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    A legislature has to reach a collective decision in either of two states of nature. In the first state, legislators vote over an ideological issue. In this state, legislators may not vote for the pragmatic (optimal) policy and, instead, confirm voters' ideological bias. In the second state, the legislature handles an issue that is not ideologically charged. We find the optimal majority rule under the veil of ignorance. The chosen majority rule affects (i) the nature and quality of policy reforms, (ii) the probability that changes are made (iii) the incentives of legislators with ideological constituencies to become agenda setter. We find that in some cases the optimal majority rule is hump-shaped with respect to ideological polarization. Finally, we test some of our theoretical predictions.

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    File URL: https://www.economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2009/paper_988.pdf
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    Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2009 Meeting Papers with number 988.

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    Date of creation: 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:red:sed009:988
    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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    1. Alberto Alesina & Allan Drazen, 1989. "Why are Stabilizations Delayed?," NBER Working Papers 3053, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Bryan Caplan, 2007. "Introduction to The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies
      [The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    3. Jean Tirole & Roland Benabou, 2004. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," 2004 Meeting Papers 15, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. James M. Snyder, 2005. "Why Roll Calls? A Model of Position-Taking in Legislative Voting and Elections," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 153-178, April.
    5. DanielJ. Seidmann, 2008. "Optimal Quotas in Private Committees," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(525), pages 16-36, 01.
    6. Thomas Romer & Howard Rosenthal, 1978. "Political resource allocation, controlled agendas, and the status quo," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 27-43, December.
    7. Eduardo Lora & Mauricio Olivera, 2004. "What makes reforms likely: Political economy determinants of reforms in Latin America," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 99-135, May.
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