Publication Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



A provision in the Indian constitution allows the executive to make laws in the event oneof the two houses of parliament is not in session. This provision was intended to allow theexecutive to act in case there’s an immediate legislative necessity and the parliament cannotbe convened. Using a bargaining model with asymmetric information we show how partieswithin the parliament may reach an agreement on legislations when the ruling party does notcommand a majority (minority government). The model makes predictions about lawmakingpatterns by the legislature when the parliament is in session, and ordinances by the executivewhen the parliament is not in session. Our three empirical findings are consistent with thismodel. First we find a lack of correlation between legislations and ordinances for majoritygovernments but a negative correlation for minority governments as parliament is substitutedout by the executive when the government lacks the numbers in parliament. Second, we findthat minority governments are less successful in converting ordinances into parliamentarylegislation. Third, we find that the spacing of ordinances within a break is skewed towards thestart of the break for minority governments as they rush to pass ordinances when parliamentgoes out of session. These results indicate that contrary to constitutional mandate, ordinanceshave been used by governments to bypass parliament when they lack the numbers there. Thisstrengthens executive power at the expense of the legislature and this may have long runinstitutional consequences.


Industrial Organization | Regional Economics

Research Areas

Economic Theory

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.