The Transnational Origins of Constituions: Evidence From a New Global Data Set On Constitional Rights
AbstractAbstract Constitutions are commonly described as national products shaped by domestic politics. This paper develops and empirically tests a different hypothesis, which is that constitutions are also shaped by transnational influence, or “diffusion”. Constitutional rights can diffuse through four mechanisms: coercion, competition, learning and acculturation. To test diffusion, we traced the historical documents of all post-WWII constitutions and documented the presence of 108 constitutional rights. Using a sample of these rights in 180 countries between 1948 and 2001, we estimate a spatial lag model to explain their adoption. Our results show that countries follow the choices of their former colonizer, countries with the same legal origin, the same religion, the same former colonizer, and the same aid donor. We also find that diffusion explains only 3 percent of the variation in adoption. However, when a country adopts its first constitution, diffusion is much stronger and explains 46 percent of the variation.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research in its series Discussion Paper with number 2013-010.
Date of creation: 2013
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constitutions; diffusion; human rights; spatial econometrics;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- K19 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Other
- C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
- O33 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2013-03-02 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2013-03-02 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-GEO-2013-03-02 (Economic Geography)
- NEP-LAW-2013-03-02 (Law & Economics)
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