Divided Government: the king and the council

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The present essay explains the meaning of divided government (section 1); introduces the king–and–council template of governance characterising territorial governments where responsibilities for choosing the policies of an organization are divided between a single person, “the king”, and a committee, “council”, of more or less equal members, who take important decisions by voting, and analyses its advantages to resolve problems of information, power sharing and succession (section 2); presents historical examples of reallocation of power between the king and the council, including the emergence of modern democracy, and demonstrates the theoretical intuition behind those constitutional exchanges (section 3); examines the ability to define political property rights and how constitutional courts assist in this respect (section 4); and shows why contrary to doctrines of separation of powers, control over policy making is in practice shared among different branches of government (section 5).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Public Choice
EditorsRoger Congleton, Bernard Grofman, Stefan Voigt
ChapterVolume 2 Chapter 3
Number of pages17
VolumeOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2019


  • King–and–council template; divided government; constitutional exchange; Edgeworth box; political property rights
  • method of appointment to office; hereditary succession; constitutional courts; separation and fusion of powers


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