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The Political Economy of Democratic Institutions

Peter Moser, University of Applied Sciences HTW Chur, Switzerland
Majority rules are generally unstable and not binding for future voters, and so are insufficient for the required security of a market economy. In this challenging book, Peter Moser argues that stability can be achieved by democratic political institutions limiting the influence of majorities.
Extent: 208 pp
Hardback Price: $145.00 Web: $130.50
Publication Date: 2000
ISBN: 978 1 85898 966 2
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Political Economy
  • Public Choice Theory
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Political Economy
  • Public Choice
Majority rules are generally unstable and not binding for future voters, and so are insufficient for the required security of a market economy. In this challenging book, Peter Moser argues that stability can be achieved by democratic political institutions limiting the influence of majorities.

Peter Moser examines the contribution to stable policy choices of a wide range of political institutions including constitutional rules, the organizational structure of legislatures and administrative and judicial procedures. He contributes new insights about the importance of decision rules in democracies by combining theory with empirical studies. He analyses legislative procedures in the US, the European Union and Switzerland, tests a novel explanation for central bank independence, discusses the implications of political decision rules for regulatory behavior, and provides a concise survey of recent critical research on democratic institutions.

This book will be particularly welcomed by public choice scholars as well as other economists and political scientists interested in the role of democratic institutions.
‘. . . a rich introduction to the spatial voting literature and to comparative institutional analysis – as well as a cogent statement that, indeed, institutions matter. . . . The book is notable in its eclecticism and thoroughness; it will have the rare appeal to both political scientists and economists in both Europe and America. Moreover, the exposition is careful and the mechanics of spatial social choice analysis are made clear, so it is suitable for some applied classroom use.’
– Edward J. López, Public Choice

‘The Political Economy of Democratic Institutions provides a first rate insight into the area of economic analysis of democratic institutions with respect to their policy choices and regulatory behaviour. The book not only provides intriguing insights for anyone interested in the political economy of democratic institutions it also, and more importantly, lays out what appears to be a promising research agenda for analysts of public policy in general.’
– Friedrich Schneider, University of Linz, Austria

‘The public choice literature has for many years been dominated by North American scholars with a natural interest in North American political institutions. This interesting book is a welcome break with this tradition. It nicely applies the tools of public choice to analyse the consequences of several different types of political institutions in Europe. The book combines rigour and relevance, and should be of interest for scholars on both sides of the Atlantic.’
– Dennis C. Mueller, Universität Wien, Austria
Contents: 1. Introduction Part I: Legislative Institutions and Public Policy: A Survey of the Literature 2. Collective Decisions under Simple Majority Rules 3. Institutional Constraints and Stability 4. Legislative Institutions and Policy Choices: Selected Applications Part II: Institutions and Stability: Checks and Balances in the Swiss Political System 5. A Model of Legislative Decisions 6. A Model of Constitutional Decisions 7. Uncertainty and Interest Groups Part III: Institutions and Policy Choice: The Conditional Influence of the European Parliament 8. Strategic Interactions in Legislative Procedures in the European Union 9. Case Study on Car Emission Standards Part IV: Institutions and Regulatory Behavior: Checks and Balances as a Prerequisite for Independent Central Banks 10. Legislative Choice of the Monetary Institution 11. Legislative Structure and Central Bank Independence Epilogue: Markets, Checks and Balances, and Commitments References Index