Measuring, Modeling and Designing Democracy


  • Daniel Duma
  • Gabriel Sebe


Economic Consequences of Electoral Systems

While the political effects of electoral systems have been widely studied during the last few decades, potential economic effects have not received that kind of attention. In recent years however the synergies between econometric techniques and political modeling triggered renewed interest and an improved methodology for investigating such relationships. Thus, fairly recent formal modeling has pointed towards a convincing effect of electoral systems on government spending for example and a number of scholars have also taken these models to a testable form using country level data. The aim of this research seminar is to take this relationship further by incorporating the latest developments in econometric and political science techniques and recent international evidence, for shedding new light on this intricate topic.

Institutions and Conflict in Democracies

Institutions have been defined as the formal settings within the boundaries of which collective decisions take place. This implies that different institutions can mean both different ways of reaching decisions and different decisions. In that sense, for example, electoral systems the mechanism of aggregation of individual preferences into collective preferences is a perfect illustration of complex behavioral implications. Other institutional features such as form of government, legal systems, etc., may also be significant, shaping the incentives of citizens in terms of conflict and cooperation. In that line of thought, a coherent and structured theoretical framework and plausible new evidence will be sought as the aims of this research seminar.


Democracy and Economic Performance

The vast majority of countries that qualify as highly developed by the UNDP are democracies (using the Freedom House Gastil Index). However, there are many examples of countries that are not democratic but do exhibit a high level of economic development. Conversely we can think of plenty of countries that have adopted democratic rule but are still mired in poverty and underdevelopment. While understanding the vast complexity and methodological vulnerability of cross-country comparisons on such broad issues, this research seminar will welcome and foster significant contributions to the incremental though approximate understanding of the relationship between democracy and economic development around the world.


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