Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 177–198

On the inevitability of divided government and improbability of a complete separation of powers

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10602-013-9143-x

Cite this article as:
Congleton, R.D. Const Polit Econ (2013) 24: 177. doi:10.1007/s10602-013-9143-x


This paper provides a tightly written overview and modest extension of the constitutional exchange and evolution model developed in Perfecting Parliament and uses that approach to analyze the division of authority that one would expect to see in contemporary constitutional governments. The analysis suggests that constitutions tend to be written, based on the king and council template, and buttressed by a more or less independent court system. Moreover, it suggests that constitutions change at the margin through time as constitutional bargaining takes place. This suggests that a complete separation of power is unlikely to be observed in the long run. Empirical evidence developed from the IAEP data base is consistent with these predictions.


Constitutional reform Separation of powers Divided government Constitutional exchange 

JEL Classification

H11 D72 D86 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BB&T Professor of EconomicsWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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