Advanced Search
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Opting-Out: the Constitutional Economics of Exit


Author Info

  • Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard

    (University of Southern Denmark)


The central aspect, which makes markets operate differently than governments, is the ability of market actors to "exit" from future interactions. This point is applied to constitutional analysis, with an emphasis on the constitutional possibility of individuals or groups in a society "exiting," wholly or partly, from the political community or from specific institutions within such. Hobbesian and Lockean states-of-nature are sketched using a common framework of some simple games, and the Lockean solution to the danger of tyranny is formalized. This solution is compared to the typical interaction in a market economy, where the possibility of "exit" from future interactions with disagreeable parties introduces severe restrictions on the possible exploitation. This analysis is extended to the political sphere, and it is argued in general terms that a constitutional set-up utilizing a semi-Lockean right to "exit" (e.g., federal structures with rights of secession, voucher systems, etc.) could be an efficient guarantee against sub-optimal solutions and function so as to reduce redistributive conflicts and make welfare-increasing transactions possible. Copyright 2002 The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Download Info

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
File URL:
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal The American Journal of Economics and Sociology.

Volume (Year): 61 (2002)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 123-158

as in new window
Handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:61:y:2002:i:1:p:123-158

Contact details of provider:
Web page:

Order Information:

Related research



No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.


Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
as in new window

Cited by:
  1. Bodo Knoll & Andreas Koenig, 2010. "Leviathan Europa - Stärkung der Nationalstaaten und der EU durch konstitutionelle Schranken?," Diskussionspapiere aus dem Institut für Volkswirtschaftslehre der Universität Hohenheim, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany 321/2010, Department of Economics, University of Hohenheim, Germany.
  2. Susanne Lechner & Renate Ohr, 2011. "The right of withdrawal in the treaty of Lisbon: a game theoretic reflection on different decision processes in the EU," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 357-375, December.
  3. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2012. "Modeling constitutional choice: reflections on The Calculus of Consent 50 years on," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 152(3), pages 407-413, September.
  4. Benjamen F. Gussen, 2013. "On the problem of scale: Spinozistic sovereignty as the logical foundation of constitutional economics," The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, The Journal of Philosophical Economics, vol. 7(1), November.
  5. Powell, Benjamin & Stringham, Edward, 2009. "Public choice and the economic analysis of anarchy: a survey," MPRA Paper 26097, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Peter Kurrild-Klitgaard, 2010. "Exit, collective action and polycentric political systems," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 339-352, June.
  7. Kurrild-Klitgaard, Peter, 2005. "Ulysses and the Rent-Seekers: The Benefits and Challenges of Constitutional Constraints on Leviathan," Ratio Working Papers, The Ratio Institute 68, The Ratio Institute.


This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
  1. Exit (economics) in Wikipedia English ne '')


Access and download statistics


When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:ajecsc:v:61:y:2002:i:1:p:123-158. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum).

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.