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date: 05 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Constitutions have been a central topic for the economic analysis of law since Buchanan and Tullock (1961) introduced the discipline of constitutional political economy. From the outset economic analysis has been deployed for both positive and normative ends. Their project was normative, but economic analysis provides tools to critique real world constitutions and to analyze their attributes. Optimal design of constitutions in theory is rarely matched in practice, but this is no hindrance to understanding the form, duration, and impact of actual constitutions. This chapter reviews the ends of constitutional design. It offers a positive theory of constitutional bargaining which can be used to inform normative design questions. Whether particular institutions ought to be included in a constitution depends on the extent to which such texts make a difference, which is an empirical question subject to some scrutiny. A review of the empirical literature on constitutional design concludes.

Keywords: constitutional design, constitutional bargaining, normative design, economic analysis, law

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