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Constitutional interests in the face of innovations: how much do we need to know about risk preferences?

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  • Ulrich Witt

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  • Christian Schubert

Abstract

In constitutional political economy, the citizens’ constitutional interests determine the social contract that is binding for the post-constitutional market game. However, following traditional preference subjectivism, it is left open what the constitutional interest are. Using the example of risk attitudes, we argue that this approach is too parsimonious with regard to the behavioral foundations to support a calculus of consent. In face of innovative activities with pecuniary and technological externalities in the post-constitutional phase, the citizens’ constitutional interests vary with their risk preferences. To determine what kind of social contract is generally agreeable, specific assumptions about risk preferences are needed.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ulrich Witt & Christian Schubert, 2008. "Constitutional interests in the face of innovations: how much do we need to know about risk preferences?," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 19(3), pages 203-225, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:19:y:2008:i:3:p:203-225
    DOI: 10.1007/s10602-008-9044-6
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Witt, Ulrich, 1996. "Innovations, Externalities and the Problem of Economic Progress," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 89(1-2), pages 113-130, October.
    2. Ulrich Witt, 2003. "Economic policy making in evolutionary perspective," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 77-94, April.
    3. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1996. "Exploiting the Coase Mechanism: The Extortion Problem," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 319-330.
    4. Tollison, Robert D, 1982. "Rent Seeking: A Survey," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(4), pages 575-602.
    5. Vanberg, Viktor J., 2005. "Market and state: the perspective of constitutional political economy," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 1(01), pages 23-49, June.
    6. Hartmut Kliemt, 2005. "Public choice and political philosophy: Reflections on the works of Gordon Spinoza and David Immanuel Buchanan," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 203-213, July.
    7. Sen, Amartya K, 1979. "Personal Utilities and Public Judgements: Or What's Wrong with Welfare Economics?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 89(355), pages 537-558, September.
    8. Buchanan, James M, 1975. "A Contractarian Paradigm for Applying Economic Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(2), pages 225-230, May.
    9. Hartmut Kliemt, 2004. "Contractarianism as Liberal Conservatism: Buchanan's Unfinished Philosophical Agenda," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 171-185, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Schubert, 2009. "Welfare Creation and Destruction in a Schumpeterian World," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-14, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.
    2. Schubert, Christian, 2017. "Green nudges: Do they work? Are they ethical?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 329-342.
    3. Binder, Martin & Witt, Ulrich, 2012. "A critical note on the role of the capability approach for sustainability economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 721-725.
    4. Lars Osberg & Andrew Sharpe, 2014. "Measuring Economic Insecurity in Rich and Poor Nations," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(S1), pages 53-76, May.
    5. Vanberg Viktor J., 2014. "Evolving Preferences and Welfare Economics: The Perspective of Constitutional Political Economy," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 234(2-3), pages 328-349, April.
    6. Viktor J. Vanberg, 2009. "Evolving Preferences and Policy Advice in Democratic Society," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2009-19, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Constitutional preferences; Social contract; Original position; Innovation; Risk preferences; D72; H10; O33;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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