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Political institutions and judicial role in comparative constitutional law
David Landau [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: constitutional theory, political institutions, political parties, comparative constitutional law; JEL : K41]

Comparative constitutional law scholarship has not realized that differences in the configuration of political institutions should bear upon the way courts do their jobs. This paper develops a comparative theory of judicial role that focuses on broad differences in political context, and particularly in party systems, across countries. I use a case study of the Colombian Constitutional Court (supplemented by briefer studies of the Hungarian and South African Constitutional Courts) to demonstrate how differences in political institutions should impact judicial role. Because Colombian parties are unstable and poorly tied to civil society, the Colombian Congress has difficulty initiating policy, monitoring the enforcement of policy, and checking presidential power. The Court has responded by taking many of these functions into its own hands. I argue that the Court's actions are sensible given Colombia's institutional context, even though existing theories of judicial role would find this kind of legislative-substitution inappropriate. Existing theory's focus on the anti-democratic nature of judicial action assumes a robust constitutional culture outside the courts and a legislature which does a decent job representing popular will - both assumptions tend to be false in newer democracies. Thus, comparative public law scholars must be attentive to political context in order to build tools suitable for evaluating the work of courts around the world.

An essay on the emergence of constitutional courts: The cases of Mexico and Colombia
Miguel Schor [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: constitutional court, Mexico, Colombia; JEL : K10]

This essay explores the emergence of the Mexican Supreme Court and the Colombian Constitutional Court as powerful political actors. Mexico and Colombia undertook constitutional transformations designed to empower their respective national high courts in the 1990s to facilitate a democratic transition. These constitutional transformations opened up political space for the Mexican Supreme Court and the Colombian Constitutional Court to begin to displace political actors in the tasks of constitutional construction and maintenance. These two courts play different roles, however, in their respective democratic orders. Mexico chose to empower its Supreme Court to police vertical and horizontal separation of powers whereas Colombia fashioned a Constitutional Court whose task is to deepen the social bases of democracy by constructing rights. This essay argues that the constitutional changes that occurred are a necessary but not sufficient explanation for the role these two courts play. The agenda courts undertake is shaped both by short-term political bargains and by long-term societal transformations. As a result of both the bargains that led to the adoption of a new constitution and broader intellectual transformations regarding the role of courts in effectuating constitutional guarantees, the Colombian Constitutional Court has pursued a more ambitious agenda than the Mexican Supreme Court.

Taking evolution seriously: Institutional analysis and evolutionary theory
Orion Lewis and Sven Steinmo [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: endogenous institutional change, evolutionary theory, complex adaptive systems, new institutionalism; JEL : B52, O17]

In this essay, we explore the epistemological and ontological assumptions that have been made to make political science "scientific." We show how political science has generally adopted an ontologically reductionist philosophy of science derived from Newtonian physics and mechanics. This mechanical framework has encountered problems and constraints on its explanatory power, because an emphasis on equilibrium analysis is ill-suited for the study of political change. We outline the primary differences between an evolutionary ontology of social science and the physics-based philosophy commonly employed. Finally, we show how evolutionary thinking adds insight into the study of political phenomena and research questions that are of central importance to the field, such as preference formation.

Corporate tax incidence: Review of general equilibrium estimates and analysis
Jennifer C. Gravelle [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: corporate tax incidence, general equilibrium models, open economy ; JEL : H22, F21]

This paper reviews the current evidence on the incidence of the corporate tax from Harberger-type general equilibrium models, with special attention to the open economy. The analysis identifies the major drivers of the results from open-economy models and compares estimates from four major studies that have examined corporate tax incidence in an open economy. Adjusting estimates from the studies to reflect central empirical estimates of key elasticities suggests that capital bears the majority of the corporate tax burden. The paper also presents an alternative method, based on the new view of property tax incidence, for allocating the corporate tax burden that distinguishes between the global effects of corporate taxes and excise effects that vary among nations.

Imperialist rationality in the monumental work of James Mill
Homero Cuevas [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: world economics, colonialism, imperialism; JEL : F0, F54]

This article examines some elements of international domination in the world economy, with particular reference to the British Empire.

The concept of multiple equilibria in social sciences
Luis Fernando Medina [pdf] [html][html]

[Keywords: equilibria, social sciences; JEL : D50]

The concept of equilibrium has become the centerpiece of modern economic analysis. Moreover, it has provided the impetus behind the expansion of economic theory into areas of the social sciences that used to be regarded as remote. The current paper aims at explaining the changes in economic science that have brought about this process, while at the same time offering a cursory discussion of the foundations of the concept of equilibrium, its strengths, the methodological challenges it presents, especially as regards the case of "multiple equilibria", and a sketch of alternatives that could tackle said challenges.

Polarization and social conflict
Ernesto Cárdenas [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: inequality, polarization, social conflict; JEL : D74]

Polarization seems to be a more accurate concept for the explanation of the emergence of social conflicts than that of inequality. This paper succinctly presents both concepts and summarizes the theory and index of economic polarization developed by Esteban and Ray within its identification-alienation framework and some of its extensions such as the group and explained polarization.

Taxation and development in perspective
Isidro Hernández Rodríguez [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: development, tax capacity, tax system, tax structure, optimal tax, adjustment and macroeconomic stabilization, growth and State ; JEL : H2, O11, O17, N4]

Economic theory predicts a positive and growing relation between tax revenues and national income. Empirical evidence from developing countries shows that collection is inelastic to income. The contrast between the theoretical prediction and experience shows, at least for the developing world, an anomaly that should be explained. It has been addressed by including new economic, political, historical and institutional concepts in the model. Social development has illuminated and admitted these concepts in the theoretical framework. But the study of the anomaly the State's preference for taxation has been overlooked. Theoretical and empirical research assumes that the State tends to set the maximum tax rate or to extend the tax base to all people and all goods. In underdevelopment, this assumption should be tested because it may be a key to explain the inelastic behavior of tax revenues.

Economy and equity in Prosperidad para todos. Más empleo, menos pobreza y más seguridad
Jorge Iván González [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: equity, regional development, convergence; JEL : O47, R58]

This article analyzes the basis of the 2010-2014 Development Plan of Colombia considering three notions of equity: intergenerational, social and regional. The scope of each is limited. Intergenerational equity considers savings from a financial perspective, disregarding that the current investment may be a better form of protective against future uncertainty. Social equity gives undue importance to competitiveness and productivity, ignoring the potential of the Keynesian employment creation and, especially, of the positive impact on income distribution and wealth in the fight against poverty. On the other hand, regional equity, the innovative part of the Plan, falls short because, under the definition of regions, it ignores gravitational potential of the interactions between large cities and their surroundings.

Reform and self defeating agrarian reform in Colombia
Álvaro Albán [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: agrarian reform, economic development, property relation, agrarian problems, Colombian economy; JEL : N56, O10, O13, O54 ]

The agrarian problem in Colombia is an economic and political issue. Attempting to solve it, with only technical means has been a failure and it is shown by facts. Although efforts have been made using political means no progress has been made. Colombian history shows that. The lack of an effective democratic solution has limited Colombian social development and has made conflict over land and violence eternal. Through history every land reform effort was followed by a counter reform and the start of a new violent cycle of violence. To prevent new frustrations, there is a need for the State to acknowledge the nature and complexity of the problem and for Government and Congress assume a political commitment with society regarding the new reform initiative.

The distribution frontier in Colombia
Mario García M. and Carlos A. Garzón R. [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: wage-profit frontier, distribution theory, Sraffa; JEL : B12, D33, E11]

The Distribution Frontier is calculated for the Colombian economy using the 2005 supply and utilization matrixes data of goods in current prices. A basic model of circular capital is used based upon Sraffa (1960), Pasinetti (1986) and Muñoz and Riaño (1992). The frontier was calculated for "ex ante" and "ex post" salaries. The "ex ante" frontier has an inflexion point and the position of the economy is to the left of this point. The "ex post" frontier is concave.

Real-time data: An application to the Taylor rule in Colombia
Gloria Lucía Bernal Nisperuza and Johanna Táutiva Pradere [pdf][html] [html]

[Keywords: real time data, Taylor rule, real GDP of Colombia, vintages; JEL : C82, E01]

Macroeconomic information used by agents and policymakers for decision making and macroeconomic information used by researchers to evaluate the transparency of such decisions may not be comparable as the latter are continuously revised and updated as more information is known. This work compares predictions of a Taylor Rule for Colombia that would be reached using real time and revised GDP data.




Revista de Economía Institucional
Universidad Externado de Colombia
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