Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 177–198 | Cite as

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

Original Paper

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Constitutional reform Separation of powers Divided government Constitutional exchange 

JEL Classification

H11 D72 D86 

References

  1. Ahmad, E., & Brosio, G. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of fiscal federalism. Cheltenham UK: Edgar Elgar Publishers.Google Scholar
  2. Buchanan, J. M., & Tullock, G. (1962). The calculus of consent. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  3. Congleton, R. D. (2001). On the durability of king-and-council: The continuum between dictatorship and democracy. Constitutional Political Economy, 12(3), 193–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Congleton, R. D. (2011a). Perfecting parliament: Liberalism, constitutional reform and the rise of western democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Congleton, R. D. (2011b). Why local governments do not maximize profits: On the value added by the representative institutions of town and city governance. Public Choice, 149(2011), 187–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Congleton, R. D., Kyriacou, A., & Bacaria, J. (2003). A theory of menu federalism: Decentralization by political agreement. Constitutional Political Economy, 14, 167–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Congleton, R. D., & Lee, S. (2009). Efficient mercantilism? Revenue-maximizing monopolization policies as ramsey taxation. European Journal of Political Economy, 25, 102–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Congleton, R. D., & Rasch, B. E. (2006). Amendment procedures and constitutional stability. In R. D. Congleton & B. Swedenborg (Eds.), Democratic constitutional design and public policy. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  9. Feld, L. P., & Voigt, S. (2003). Economic growth and judicial independence: Cross-country evidence using a new set of indicators. European Journal of Political Economy, 19, 497–527.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hobbes, T. (1651/1982). Leviathan. Baltimore: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  11. Mao, Z. (1938/1990). Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse Tung. San Francisco: China Books and Periodicals.Google Scholar
  12. Oates, W. E. (1972). Fiscal federalism. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich.Google Scholar
  13. Tiebout, C. (1956). A pure theory of local expenditures. Journal of Political Economy, 64, 416–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Vile, M. J. C. (1968). Constitutionalism and the separation of powers. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press [reprinted by Liberty Fund in e-book form in 2012].Google Scholar
  15. Voigt, S. (1999). Explaining constitutional change: A positive economic approach. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  16. Voigt, S. (2011). Positive constitutional economics II: A survey of recent developments. Public Choice, 146, 205–256.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations