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A revisionist view of the separation of powers

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  • Brennan, G.
  • Hamlin, A.

Abstract

The doctrine of the separation of powers attracts almost universal support as a central element of the liberal constitution designed to protect citizens against governmental power. However, there is little agreement on, or analysis of, the precise institutional requirements of the doctrine or the method by which the claimed benefit is achieved. We set out a simple model of the interaction between citizen-voters, the legislature and the executive to illustrate that the functional division of powers can operate systematically against the interests of citizen-voters. This case provides the basis both for a taxonomy of distinct senses of the separation of powers, and for the revisionist claim that there is a general liberal presumption against the functional separation of powers.
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Suggested Citation

  • Brennan, G. & Hamlin, A., 1993. "A revisionist view of the separation of powers," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 9314, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  • Handle: RePEc:stn:sotoec:9314
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    Cited by:

    1. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 1998. "Expressive voting and electoral equilibrium," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 95(1), pages 149-175, April.
    2. Stefan Voigt, 2011. "Positive constitutional economics II—a survey of recent developments," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 146(1), pages 205-256, January.
    3. Seabright, Paul, 1996. "Accountability and decentralisation in government: An incomplete contracts model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 61-89, January.
    4. Maurice Kugler & Howard Rosental, 2000. "Checks and balances: an assessment of the institutional separtion of political powers in Colombia," WORKING PAPERS SERIES. DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 002117, FEDESARROLLO.
    5. Lars P. Feld & Stefan Voigt, 2004. "Making Judges Independent – Some Proposals Regarding the Judiciary," CESifo Working Paper Series 1260, CESifo Group Munich.
    6. Kugler, Maurice & Rosenthal, Howard, 2000. "Checks and balances: an assessment of the institutional separation of political powers in Colombia," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0018, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.

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