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Constitutions and policy comparisons : direct and representative democracy when states learn from their neighbours

Hugh-Jones, David (2009) 'Constitutions and policy comparisons : direct and representative democracy when states learn from their neighbours.' Journal of Theoretical Politics, 21 (1). pp. 25-61. ISSN 0951-6298

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Abstract

Voters in democracies can learn from the experience of neighbouring states: about policy in a direct democracy (`policy experimentation'), about the quality of their politicians in a representative democracy (`yardstick competition'). Learning between states creates spillovers from policy choice, and also from constitutional choice. I model these spillovers in a simple principal-agent framework, and show that voter welfare may be maximized by a mixture of representative and direct democratic states. Because of this, empirical work examining voter welfare under direct democracy may need to be reinterpreted. Also, I show that the optimal mix of constitutions cannot always be achieved in a constitutional choice equilibrium involving many states.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: constitutional choice; direct democracy; policy experimentation; yardstick competition
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 11 May 2012 11:36
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014 11:20
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/5778

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