The economic effects of constitutions: replicating—and extending—Persson and Tabellini

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Stefan Voigt.

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The authors thank their colleagues Kim Eun Young, Sang Min Park, Janina Satzer and Thomas Welsch for constructive critique.

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Blume, L., Müller, J., Voigt, S. et al. The economic effects of constitutions: replicating—and extending—Persson and Tabellini. Public Choice 139, 197–225 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-008-9389-4

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Keywords

  • Constitutional economics
  • Form of government
  • Electoral rules
  • Fiscal policy
  • Governance
  • Productivity

JEL Classification

  • D72
  • E60
  • H00