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The Constitutional Dilemma of Economic Liberty

  • Barry R. Weingast

This paper studies the problem of self-enforcing constitutions, addressing the question, how do some constitutions provide incentives for political officials to abide by the constraints announced in the constitution? To understand the mechanisms underlying successful constitutions, the paper begins by exploring a simple society facing the dilemma of policing the government: a sovereign, who controls the government, and two citizens. It then moves to a discussion of how constitutions are often formed out of crises, with some more detailed discussion of two main examples: England's Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the U.S. Constitution.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533005774357815
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 19 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 89-108

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:19:y:2005:i:3:p:89-108
Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533005774357815
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  1. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "Judicial Checks and Balances," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 445-470, April.
  2. Peter Ordeshook, 1992. "Constitutional stability," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 137-175, March.
  3. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521583299 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521794497 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355.
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