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Political Learning: The Neglected Precondition of Constitutional Reform


  • Gerhard Wegner



This paper analyses the claim of constitutional economics that liberal economic policy requires far-reaching constitutional reform. The paper starts with a restatement of this claim and reinforces the rationale of the currently most influential variants of constitutional economics as represented by contractarian constitutional economics (Brennan, Buchanan), on the one hand, and Hayek’ s evolutionary theory, on the other. However, these constitutional proposals have shortcomings because the institutional preconditions of constitutional reform are not sufficiently reflected. Instead, I argue that, in face of economic crisis, a revision of in-period politics requires no more collective rationality than constitutional reform does. As a consequence, the introduction of new constitutional rules depends on political learning. The article concludes that constitutional rules in the sense of CPE can stabilise political learning but they cannot replace it. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Suggested Citation

  • Gerhard Wegner, 2004. "Political Learning: The Neglected Precondition of Constitutional Reform," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 339-358, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:15:y:2004:i:4:p:339-358
    DOI: 10.1007/s10602-004-7767-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John Williamson, 1994. "The Political Economy of Policy Reform," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 68.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Schnellenbach, 2015. "Does classical liberalism imply an evolutionary approach to policy-making?," Journal of Bioeconomics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 53-70, April.
    2. Trofimov, Ivan D., 2017. "Political economy of trade protection and liberalization: in search of agency-based and holistic framework of policy change," MPRA Paper 79504, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    learning; constitutional reform;


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