The economic effects of constitutions: replicating—and extending—Persson and Tabellini
Persson and Tabellini (The Economic Effects of Constitutions, The MIT Press, Cambridge, 2003) show that presidential regimes and majoritarian election systems have important economic effects. Here, the number of countries is expanded and more recent data is used. In replicating and extending their analyses, we find that the effect of presidential regimes vanishes almost entirely. With regard to electoral systems, the original results are largely confirmed: majoritarian (as opposed to proportional) electoral systems lead to lower government expenditure, lower levels of rent seeking but also lower output per worker. The institutional details, such as the proportion of candidates that are not elected on party lists and district size, are particularly important.
KeywordsConstitutional economics Form of government Electoral rules Fiscal policy Governance Productivity
JEL ClassificationD72 E60 H00
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Brennan, G., & Buchanan, J. (1980). The power to tax: analytical foundations of a fiscal constitution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
- Buchanan, J., & Tullock, G. (1962). The calculus of consent—logical foundations of constitutional democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Google Scholar
- Duverger, M. (1954). Political parties: their organization and activity in the modern state. New York: Wiley. Google Scholar
- Golder, M. (2005). Democratic electoral systems around the world, 1946–2000. http://homepages.nyu.edu/~mrg217/elections.hmtl.
- Hall, R. E., & Jones, C. I. (1999). Why do some countries produce so much more output per worker than others? The Quarterly Journal of Economics, February, 83–116. Google Scholar
- Heston, A., Summers, R., & Aten, B. (2002). Penn World Table Version 6.1. Center for International Comparisons at the University of Pennsylvania. Available at http://pwt.econ.upenn.edu/php_site/pwt61_form.php.
- Kaufmann, D., Kraay, A., & Zoido-Lobatón, P. (1999). Aggregate Governance Indicators (Working Paper No. 2195). World Bank, Washington, DC. Google Scholar
- Lizzeri, A., & Persico, N. (2001). The provision of public goods under alternative electoral incentives. American Economic Review, 91(1), 225–239. Google Scholar
- Mueller, D. (1996). Constitutional democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
- Mueller, D. (2003). Public Choice III. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Google Scholar
- Olson, M. (1982). The rise and decline of nations. New Haven: Yale University Press. Google Scholar
- Persson, T., & Tabellini, G. (2000). Political economics—explaining economic policy. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Google Scholar
- Persson, T., & Tabellini, G. (2003). The economic effects of constitutions. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Google Scholar
- Pommerehne, W., & Frey, B. (1978). Bureaucratic behaviour in democracy: a case study. Public Finance, 33, 98–112. Google Scholar
- Voigt, S. (1999). Explaining constitutional change—a positive economics approach. Cheltenham Glos: Edward Elgar. Google Scholar
- Voigt, S., & Blume, L. (2006). The economic effects of direct democracy—a cross country assessment. Downloadable from: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=908942.