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Crises, investments, and political institutions

Per F Andersson and Johannes Lindvall
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Per F Andersson: European University Institute, Florence, Italy
Johannes Lindvall: Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2018, vol. 30, issue 4, 410-430

Abstract: On the basis of a game-theoretic model, this paper argues that governments typically manage crises more effectively in systems where political power is concentrated in a single party, but they are more likely to make investments in future welfare in systems where political power is shared among several parties. The paper makes two contributions. First of all, it shows that both crisis-management failures and investment failures can be explained by a common mechanism: an inter-temporal commitment problem that arises from the inability of political agents to commit to future policy choices. Second, it shows that power-sharing institutions are often associated with more effective government than power-concentration institutions, in contrast to much of the normative literature in comparative politics, in which power-sharing institutions are often justified on other grounds, such as representativeness, responsiveness, or social cohesion. In a world where crises dominate, power-concentration institutions typically perform better; in a world where investment problems dominate, power-sharing institutions typically perform better.

Keywords: Commitment; constitutions; crises; investments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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