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Separation of Powers with Ideological Parties

Alvaro Forteza () and Juan Pereyra ()

No 319, Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) from Department of Economics - dECON

Abstract: Separation of powers with checks and balances (SP) is usually regarded as a key institution complementing elections in the control of elected officials. However, some analysts and many politicians also warn that excessive checks on the executive in the presence of polarization may lead to political inaction. We present a political agency model with ideological parties where citizens and politicians care about rents (the valence issue) and policy (a positional issue). We show that SP unambiguously raises voters welfare in highly-polarized non-competitive political environments, because it strengthens both discipline and selection without causing political gridlock (voters can grant the executive the legislative majorities needed to enact reforms). SP also raises voters’ welfare if elections are very effective at disciplining first period incumbents. However, SP may reduce it if most rents go undetected and reformis not a first order issue.

Keywords: Political agency; separation of powers; checks and balances (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 E69 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
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