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A proposal for a more objective measure of de facto constitutional constraints


In this paper we propose two new indicators of de facto constitutional constraints. The indicators are based on the presence or the absence of easily observable political events. This makes the proposed measures relatively objective and easy to verify relative to the most widely used indicators of de jure and de facto constitutions. This paper describes the indicators and demonstrates their usefulness for research on economic development.

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  1. See Alvarez et al. (1996) and Przeworski (2000)

  2. This case is widely publicized and politically significant, so we (or any expert) could easily detect the case.

  3. Ríos-Figueroa and Staton classification (2014) would definethe criterion as a “de facto measure”.

  4. To assess the observable regime as RoLD we use stronger form of the criterion (3) “…AND call for its replacement, without routine intimidation, revenge or punishment?”.

  5. The total number of observations actually engaged in the analysis restricted by GDP per capita Growth rate data availability so we have got 12,160 observations without imputation and 25,375 observations with imputed data (see Descriptive Statistics in the Supplemental Materials; imputation procedure see pp. 21–22 of Supplemental materials).





  10. Lipset hypothesized that Democracy is caused and supported by sustainable economic development, political and cultural maturity.


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We wish to thank the Editor in Chief Roger Congleton for his help that greatly influenced this article. We are also grateful to three anonymous referees for comments and references.

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Correspondence to Moshe Yanovskiy.

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Yanovskiy, M., Ginker, T. A proposal for a more objective measure of de facto constitutional constraints. Const Polit Econ 28, 311–320 (2017).

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  • De facto constitutional constraints
  • Constitutional constraints
  • Expert ranking
  • Retrospective assessments
  • Democracy and growth

JEL Classification

  • P50
  • N40
  • O43
  • C81