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To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of United States Constitution


  • McGuire, Robert A.

    (Buchtel College, University of Akron)


This is a quantitative reexamination of the behavior of the Founding Fathers during the creation of the United States' Constitution. It employs cliometric analysis, formal economic analysis, and modern statistical techniques, to explain the choices the founders made during the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. These include: What form of government did the founders intend for the Constitution? What factors motivated them to adopt particular clauses in the Constitution? What factors led them to ratify the Constitution? The author argues that the findings challenge the prevailing interpretation of the formation of the Constitution.

Suggested Citation

  • McGuire, Robert A., 2003. "To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of United States Constitution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195139709.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780195139709

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Portes & Hélène Rey, 1998. "The emergence of the euro as an international currency," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 13(26), pages 305-343, April.
    2. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Vehicle Currencies and the Structure of International Exchange," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 513-526, August.
    3. Menzie Chinn & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 2007. "Will the Euro Eventually Surpass the Dollar as Leading International Reserve Currency?," NBER Chapters,in: G7 Current Account Imbalances: Sustainability and Adjustment, pages 283-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Eichengreen, Barry & Livia, Chitu & Mehl, Arnaud, 2014. "Stability or upheaval? The currency composition of international reserves in the long run," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 201, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    5. Rousseau, Peter L. & Sylla, Richard, 2005. "Emerging financial markets and early US growth," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 1-26, January.
    6. Decorzant, Yann & Flores, Juan-Huitzi, 2012. "Public borrowing in harsh times : the League of Nations Loans revisited," IFCS - Working Papers in Economic History.WH wp12-07, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Instituto Figuerola.
    7. Jong-Wha Lee, 2014. "Will the Renminbi Emerge as an International Reserve Currency?," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(1), pages 42-62, January.
    8. Chiţu, Livia & Eichengreen, Barry & Mehl, Arnaud, 2014. "When did the dollar overtake sterling as the leading international currency? Evidence from the bond markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 225-245.
    9. Barry Eichengreen & Livia Chiu & Arnaud Mehl, 2016. "Network effects, homogeneous goods and international currency choice: New evidence on oil markets from an older era," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(1), pages 173-206, February.
    10. Eswar S. Prasad, 2015. "The Dollar Trap: How the U.S. Dollar Tightened Its Grip on Global Finance," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10182-2.
    11. Barry Eichengreen, 2013. "ADB Distinguished Lecture Renminbi Internationalization: Tempest in a Teapot?," Asian Development Review, MIT Press, vol. 30(1), pages 148-164, March.
    12. Vincent Castel & Martha Phiri & Marco Stampini, 2010. "Working Paper 110 - Education and Employment in Malawi," Working Paper Series 247, African Development Bank.
    13. Yung Chul Park & Chi-Young Song, 2011. "Renminbi Internationalization: Prospects and Implications for Economic Integration in East Asia," Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press, vol. 10(3), pages 42-72, Fall.
    14. Subramanian Arvind & Kessler Martin, 2013. "The Renminbi Bloc is Here: Asia Down, Rest of the World to Go?," Journal of Globalization and Development, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 49-94, August.
    15. Paul R. Krugman, 1984. "The International Role of the Dollar: Theory and Prospect," NBER Chapters,in: Exchange Rate Theory and Practice, pages 261-278 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Joseph E. Gagnon & Kent Troutman, 2014. "Internationalization of the Renminbi: The Role of Trade Settlement," Policy Briefs PB14-15, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    17. Agnès Bénassy-Quéré & Jean Pisani-Ferry, 2011. "The Long March Towards a Multipolar Monetary Regime," La Lettre du CEPII, CEPII research center, issue 308.
    18. David, Paul A. & Bunn, Julie Ann, 1988. "The economics of gateway technologies and network evolution: Lessons from electricity supply history," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 165-202.
    19. AfDB AfDB, 2010. "Working Paper Series – Author Guidelines," Working Paper Series 357, African Development Bank.
    20. Arvind Subramanian, 2011. "Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6062.
    21. Ronald I. McKinnon, 1996. "The Rules of the Game: International Money and Exchange Rates," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262133180, January.
    22. Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2013. "Where It All Began: Lending of Last Resort and Bank of England Monitoring During the Overend-Gurney Panic of 1866," Post-Print hal-01293916, HAL.
    23. Eichengreen, Barry, 2013. "Currency war or international policy coordination?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 425-433.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mwangi Kimenyi & William Shughart, 2010. "The political economy of constitutional choice: a study of the 2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 1-27, March.
    2. Grubb, Farley, 2010. "Testing for the Economic Impact of the U.S. Constitution: Purchasing Power Parity Across the Colonies versus Across the States, 1748–1811," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 70(01), pages 118-145, March.
    3. Ruttan, Vernon W., 2007. "Why is Nation Building So Bloody? Two Cases," Staff Papers 7305, University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics.
    4. Farley Grubb, 2004. "Purchasing Power Parity Across Six British Colonies Versus Across the Same Six U.S. States, 1748-1811," Working Papers 04-05, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    5. Ben Baack & Robert A. McGuire & T. Norman Van Cott, 2009. "Constitutional Agreement during the Drafting of the Constitution: A New Interpretation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 533-567, June.
    6. Farley W. Grubb, 2005. "State "Currencies" and the Transition to the U.S. Dollar: Reply—Including a New View from Canada," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1341-1348, September.
    7. Farley Grubb, 2004. "The U.S. Constitution and Monetary Powers: An Analysis of the 1787 Constitutional Convention and How a Constitutional Transformation of the Nation's Monetary System Emerged," Working Papers 04-08, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.

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