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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 4 (June 2012)

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Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs

Article Citation

Acemoglu, Daron, Georgy Egorov, and Konstantin Sonin. 2012. "Dynamics and Stability of Constitutions, Coalitions, and Clubs." American Economic Review, 102(4): 1446-76.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.4.1446

Abstract

In dynamic collective decision making, current decisions determine the future distribution of political power and influence future decisions. We develop a general framework to study this class of problems. Under acyclicity, we characterize dynamically stable states as functions of the initial state and obtain two general insights. First, a social arrangement is made stable by the instability of alternative arrangements that are preferred by sufficiently powerful groups. Second, efficiency-enhancing changes may be resisted because of further changes they will engender. We use this framework to analyze dynamics of political rights in a society with different types of extremist views. (JEL D71, D72, K10)

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Authors

Acemoglu, Daron (MIT)
Egorov, Georgy (Northwestern U)
Sonin, Konstantin (New Economic School, Moscow)

JEL Classifications

D71: Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
D72: Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
K10: Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law)


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