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Political leadership, conflict, and the prospects for constitutional peace


  • Jennings, Colin


The emphasis on constitutional political economy has been that new rules and institutions can be devised that improve the welfare of a society. Given the number of societies that are infected with political conflict and, as a result, lower levels of welfare, this paper attempts to analyze why we do not see more constitutional conventions aimed at eliminating conflict. The key idea is that expressively motivated group members may create incentives for instrumentally motivated group leaders such that it leads them to choose conflict rather than compromise. Nonetheless, it is not argued that such a peace is impossible to obtain. This leads to a further question, that if such a constitutional agreement could be found, would the expressive perspective alter the conventional instrumental perspective on the sort of constitutional reform that should be undertaken?

Suggested Citation

  • Jennings, Colin, 2007. "Political leadership, conflict, and the prospects for constitutional peace," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4196, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4196

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Geoffrey Brennan & Alan Hamlin, 2002. "Expressive Constitutionalism," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 299-311, December.
    2. Horowitz, Donald L., 2002. "Explaining the Northern Ireland Agreement: The Sources of an Unlikely Constitutional Consensus," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(02), pages 193-220, April.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Political Economy of Hatred," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(1), pages 45-86.
    4. Acemoglu, Daron, 2003. "Why not a political Coase theorem? Social conflict, commitment, and politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 620-652, December.
    5. Brennan, Geoffrey & Hamlin, Alan, 1999. "On Political Representation," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 29(01), pages 109-127, January.
    6. Voigt, Stefan, 2009. "Explaining constitutional garrulity," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 290-303, December.
    7. Gregory D. Hess & Athanasios Orphanides, 2001. "War and Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(4), pages 776-810, August.
    8. Alan Hamlin & Colin Jennings, 2004. "Group Formation and Political Conflict: Instrumental and Expressive Approaches," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 118(3_4), pages 413-435, March.
    9. Tyler Cowen, 2004. "A Road Map to Middle Eastern peace? -- A Public Choice Perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 118(1_2), pages 1-10, January.
    10. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-846, September.
    11. Herschel Grossman, 2002. "Constitution or Conflict?," Working Papers 2002-01, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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    Cited by:

    1. Colin Jennings & Hein Roelfsema, 2008. "Civil Conflict, Federalism and Strategic Delegation of Leadership," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 45(4), pages 557-573, July.
    2. Colin Jennings, 2011. "Intra-Group Competition And Inter-Group Conflict: An Application To Northern Ireland," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(1), pages 63-83.
    3. Tridimas, George, 2011. "The political economy of power-sharing," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 328-342, June.
    4. Hamlin, Alan & Jennings, Colin, 2011. "Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(03), pages 645-670, July.
    5. repec:str:wpaper:0001 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Daniel Kaufmann & Pedro C. Vicente, 2011. "Legal Corruption," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(2), pages 195-219, July.

    More about this item


    Education and Society; Post Conflict Reintegration; Peace&Peacekeeping; Social Conflict and Violence; Services&Transfers to Poor;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions

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