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Explaining Constitutional Change

A Positive Economics Approach Stefan Voigt, Director, Institute of Law and Economics, University of Hamburg, Germany
This book aims to extend the current research and debate in constitutional economics by using a positive economics approach. Born out of discontent with the current state in constitutional economics, this book presents an inquiry in the possibilities of a positive constitutional economics, and how societies choose their constitutional rules.
Extent: 264 pp
Hardback Price: $145.00 Web: $130.50
Publication Date: 1999
ISBN: 978 1 84064 169 1
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Institutional Economics
  • Public Choice Theory
  • Politics and Public Policy
  • Public Choice
This book aims to extend the current research and debate in constitutional economics by using a positive economics approach. Born out of discontent with the current state in constitutional economics, this book presents an inquiry in the possibilities of a positive constitutional economics, and how societies choose their constitutional rules.

Drawing on economics, the book examines the emergence of constitutions and how and why they change over time. The author proposes that model constitutions are based on, and backed by institutions which have developed spontaneously. He presents some predictions on the scope of constitutional change under various constitutional settings and factors which cause constitutional change. Stefan Voigt concludes that constitutional change is reconceptualized as the outcome of a bargaining game, in which changes reflect the altered bargaining power of the actors.

This book will be welcomed by academics working in the fields of political economy, law and economics as well as those from the public choice and new institutional schools of thought.
Contents: Preface 1. A New Research Program Emerges: Constitutional Economics 2. Two Competing Approaches to Constitutional Economics – A Comparison of Buchanan and Hayek 3. The Possibility of Positive Constitutional Economics 4. Positive Constitutional Economics – A Survey 5. Breaking with the Notion of Social Contract: Constitutions as Based on Spontaneously Arisen Institutions 6. Bargaining for Constitutional Change – Towards an Economic Theory of Constitutional Change 7. Implicit Constitutional Change – Changing the Meaning of the Constitution without Changing the Text of the Document 8. Constitutional Competition – Foreign Factors Causing Constitutional Change? 9. Outlook: Connecting Positive Constitutional Economics with the Theory of Economic Policy References Index