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Explaining constitutional garrulity

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  • Voigt, Stefan

Abstract

Constitutions differ dramatically in length although they serve very similar functions everywhere. This paper tries to identify some determinants of constitutional length. It contains a new dataset spelling out the length of 135 constitutions in words. It turns out that a common law legal origin significantly increases the length of the constitution, whereas countries in the Middle East and North Africa have significantly shorter constitutions. Further, having been a British or Spanish colony is correlated with longer constitutions, a higher share of Protestants with shorter constitutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Voigt, Stefan, 2009. "Explaining constitutional garrulity," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 290-303, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:29:y:2009:i:4:p:290-303
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
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    5. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
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    7. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    8. Lorenz Blume & Jens Müller & Stefan Voigt & Carsten Wolf, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Constitutions: Replicating – and Extending – Persson and Tabellini," CESifo Working Paper Series 2017, CESifo Group Munich.
    9. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-591, September.
    10. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    11. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Dennis Mueller, 2005. "Constitutional political economy in the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 57-73, July.
    2. Maurizio Mistri, 2007. "Institutional changes and shifting ideas: a constitutional analysis of the Euro," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 107-126, June.
    3. R. Warren Anderson, 2016. "Native American reservation constitutions," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 27(4), pages 377-398, December.
    4. Eli M. Salzberger & Stefan Voigt, 2003. "On the Delegation of Powers – With Special Emphasis on Central and Eastern Europe," Chapters,in: Economic Welfare, International Business and Global Institutional Change, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    5. Jan Schnellenbach, 2004. "The Evolution of a Fiscal Constitution When Individuals are Theoretically Uncertain," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 97-115, January.
    6. Colin Jennings, 2007. "Political Leadership, Conflict and the Prospects for Constitutional Peace," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 83-94, January.
    7. Carsten Herrmann-Pillath, 2006. "Reciprocity and the hidden constitution of world trade," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 133-163, September.
    8. Ringa Raudla, 2010. "Explaining constitution-makers’ preferences: the cases of Estonia and the United States," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 249-269, September.
    9. Roger Congleton, 2001. "On the Durability of King and Council: The Continuum Between Dictatorship and Democracy," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 193-215, September.
    10. Pierre Salmon, 2001. "Constitutional Implications of Electoral Assumptions," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 333-349, December.
    11. Christian Bjørnskov & Stefan Voigt, 2014. "Constitutional verbosity and social trust," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(1), pages 91-112, October.

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