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The Constitutional Dilemma of Economic Liberty

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  • Barry R. Weingast

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry R. Weingast, 2005. "The Constitutional Dilemma of Economic Liberty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 89-108, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:19:y:2005:i:3:p:89-108
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/089533005774357815
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    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/089533005774357815
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. Wintrobe,Ronald, 2000. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521794497, December.
    3. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 6355, October.
    4. Weingast, Barry R., 1997. "The Political Foundations of Democracy and the Rule of the Law," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 91(2), pages 245-263, June.
    5. Peter Ordeshook, 1992. "Constitutional stability," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 137-175, March.
    6. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Timothy N Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 2008. "Coordinating Collective Resistance Through Communication And Repeated Interaction," Monash Economics Working Papers 16/08, Monash University, Department of Economics.
    2. Nakao, Keisuke, 2017. "Patterns of Rebellion: A Model with Three Challengers," MPRA Paper 80034, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas & Ahmed, Rasha, 2009. "Law, state power, and taxation in Islamic history," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 704-717, September.
    4. Timothy Besley, 2020. "State Capacity, Reciprocity, and the Social Contract," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(4), pages 1307-1335, July.
    5. Andrew T. Young, 2019. "How Austrians can contribute to constitutional political economy (and why they should)," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 32(4), pages 281-293, December.
    6. Timothy Cason & Vai-Lam Mui, 2007. "Communication and coordination in the laboratory collective resistance game," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 10(3), pages 251-267, September.
    7. Jan Fałkowski & Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska, 2015. "Przyczyny ustanawiania i stabilność konstytucji państwa - perspektywa ekonomiczna," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 3, pages 79-105.
    8. Metin Cosgel, 2012. "The Political Economy of Law and Economic Development in Islamic History," Working papers 2012-44, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
    9. Joachim Ahrens & Rainer Schweickert & Juliane Zenker, 2015. "Varieties Of Capitalism And Government Spending In Developed And Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 40(1), pages 113-136, March.
    10. Murrell, Peter, 2017. "Design and evolution in institutional development: The insignificance of the English Bill of Rights," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 36-55.
    11. Nakao, Keisuke, 2013. "How Rebellion Expands? From Periphery to Heartland," MPRA Paper 50546, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 2006. "Institutions, Recessions and Recovery in the Transitional Economies," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(4), pages 875-894, December.
    13. Naqvi, Nadeem & Neumärker, Bernhard & Pech, Gerald, 2012. "The rule of law and sustainability of the constitution: The case of tax evasion," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 01-2012, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.
    14. Christoph March & Robert K. Weizsäcker, 2020. "Coordinating intergenerational redistribution and the repayment of public debt: an experimental test of Tabellini (1991)," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 55(2), pages 301-323, August.
    15. Geoffrey Hodgson & Shuxia Jiang, 2008. "La economía de la corrupción y la corrupción de la economía: una perspectiva institucionalista," Revista de Economía Institucional, Universidad Externado de Colombia - Facultad de Economía, vol. 10(18), pages 55-80, January-J.
    16. Iara, Anna & Wolff, Guntram B., 2014. "Rules and risk in the Euro area," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 222-236.
    17. Eduardo Wiesner, 2008. "The Political Economy of Macroeconomic Policy Reform in Latin America," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12913.
    18. Naqvi, Nadeem & Neumärker, Bernhard & Pech, Gerald, 2018. "Consolidated democracy, constitutional stability, and the rule of law," MPRA Paper 86316, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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