, Volume 159, Issue 1-2, pp 177-196

Can democracy induce development? A constitutional perspective

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Abstract

We examine the constitutional design required for democratic societies to overcome poverty traps. Restricting agenda setting by ensuring subsistence levels of consumption and applying simple majority voting as a decision rule will not enable a society to overcome poverty. We show that a combination of suitable constitutional rules can, however, overcome poverty and induce economic well-being. Besides majority voting, these rules include rotating agenda setting, agenda repetition, and tax-protection rules. We thus highlight the crucial role of democratic institutions for economic development.