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Economic Theories and the Science of Inter-Branch Relations

  • Yannis Karagiannis
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    One of the fastest-developing areas of political science studies the relationship between the different branches of government. Within that literature, the most popular research questions concern the delegation of powers by one branch to another, the resulting levels of discretion of the delegate, and the control mechanisms available to the delegator. The resulting analyses draw heavily from a handful of economic theories, such as principal-agent, the positive theory of agency, transactions cost economics, and incomplete contracts theory. This article (a) differentiates between those theories, (b) argues that mixing those theories is a self-defeating mistake, and (c) makes a strong and comparative point in favour of re-directing our studies in inter-branch relations towards transactions cost economics. Yet, a truly consistent political-scientific theory of transactions cost economics is still to be developed. The conclusions point to the way forward for the construction of such a theory.

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    File URL: http://cadmus.eui.eu/dspace/bitstream/1814/6709/1/RSCAS_2007_04.pdf
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    Paper provided by European University Institute in its series RSCAS Working Papers with number 2007/04.

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    Date of creation: 21 Feb 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:rsc:rsceui:2007/04
    Contact details of provider: Postal: Convento, Via delle Fontanelle, 19, 50014 San Domenico di Fiesole (FI) Italy
    Web page: http://www.eui.eu/RSCAS/

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    1. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1988. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Working papers 495, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Eric Malin & David Martimort, 2000. "Transaction Costs and Incentive Theory," Revue d'Économie Industrielle, Programme National Persée, vol. 92(1), pages 125-148.
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