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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

For economics, finance, and business purposes, constitutional transparency largely means predictability. Decisions to change a constitution can result in type I errors—accepting changes that do not improve welfare—or type II errors—rejecting a change that would improve welfare. Virtually all written constitutions can change formally through amendments or implicitly through high court interpretations. Evidence shows the two-stage US amendment process is less likely to make type I and type II errors than Supreme Court interpretations. Elites propose European Union (EU) constitutional changes and much the same elites accept them; the procedure appears two-stage but is close to single-stage. Supreme Court, EU, and UK constitutional changes are essentially single-stage procedures, relying on elites. Of the 24 countries and the European Union discussed here, 11 use a two-stage procedure. A wisdom-of-crowds argument supports multistage processes.

Keywords: amendments, constitution, European Union, Supreme Court, transparency, welfare

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