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New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions

Author

Listed:
  • Beck, Thorsten
  • Clarke, George
  • Groff, Alberto
  • Keefer, Philip
  • Walsh, Patrick

Abstract

This paper introduces a large new cross-country database on political institutions: the Database on Political Institutions (DPI). The authors summarize key variables (many of them new), compare this data set with others, and explore the range of issues for which the data should prove invaluable. Among the novel variables they introduce: 1) Several measures of tenure, stability, and checks and balances. 2) Identification of parties with the government coalition or the opposition. 3) Fragmentation of opposition and government parties in legislatures. The authors illustrate the application of DPI variables to several problems in political economy. Stepan and Skach, for example, find that democracy is more likely to survive under parliamentary governments than presidential systems. But this result is not robust to the use of different variables from the DPI, which raises puzzles for future research. Similarly, Roubini and Sachs, find that divided governments in the OECD run higher budget deficits after fiscal shocks. Replication of their work using DPI indicators of divided government indicates otherwise, again suggesting issues for future research. Among questions in political science and economics, that this database may illuminate: the determinants of democratic consolidation, the political conditions for economic reform, the political and institutional roots of corruption, and the elements of appropriate and institutionally sensitive design of economic policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Beck, Thorsten & Clarke, George & Groff, Alberto & Keefer, Philip & Walsh, Patrick, 2000. "New tools and new tests in comparative political economy - the database of political institutions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2283, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2283
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:02:p:327-343_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Roubini, Nouriel & Sachs, Jeffrey D., 1989. "Political and economic determinants of budget deficits in the industrial democracies," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 903-933, May.
    3. Nouriel Roubini & Jeffrey Sachs, 1988. "Political and Economic Determinants of Budget Deficits in the IndustrialDemocracies," NBER Working Papers 2682, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Durham, J Benson, 1999. "Economic Growth and Political Regimes," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 81-111, March.
    5. Rasmusen, Eric & Ramseyer, J Mark, 1994. "Cheap Bribes and the Corruption Ban: A Coordination Game among Rational Legislators," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 78(3-4), pages 305-327, March.
    6. Gelbach, Jonath B. & Pritchett, Lant H., 1997. "More for the poor is less for the poor : the politics of targeting," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1799, The World Bank.
    7. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 6355.
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