IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Constitutional Rules

  • Toke S Aidt
  • Francesco Giovannoni


This paper proposes a normative theory of constitutional rules. The first-best cannot be achieved whenever constitutional rules cannot be made contingent on information about the costs and benefits of policy reforms. We characterize and welfare rank four classes of second best constitutions: constitutions that specify one rule for all types of decisions; constitutions that provide incentives for information about costs and benefits to be revealed; constitutions that allow for vetoes from interested parties and constitutions that specify different rules for different policy areas. In addition, we provide conditions for the existence of amendment rules that allow for changes to the original constitutional rules after the constitutional stage. Finally, we provide a new rationale for the existence of checks and balances.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK in its series The Centre for Market and Public Organisation with number 04/109.

in new window

Length: 62 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:04/109
Contact details of provider: Postal: 2 Priory Road, Bristol, BS8 1TX
Phone: 0117 33 10799
Fax: 0117 33 10705
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Giovannoni, Francesco, 2003. " Amendment Rules in Constitutions," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 115(1-2), pages 37-61, April.
  2. Matthias Messner & Mattias K. Polborn, 2004. "Voting on Majority Rules," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 115-132, 01.
  3. Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2002. "Endogenous constitutions," Economics Working Papers 896, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2005.
  4. Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1998. "Foundations of incomplete contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19354, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Hans Gersbach, 2002. "Democratic Mechanisms: Double Majority Rules and Flexible Agenda Costs," CESifo Working Paper Series 749, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Salvador BARBER?Author-Email: & Matthew O. JACKSON, 2003. "Choosing How to Choose: Self-Stable Majority Rules and Constitutions," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 596.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto & Trebbi, Francesco, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," Scholarly Articles 4481498, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Giovanni Maggi & Massimo Morelli, 2006. "Self-Enforcing Voting in International Organizations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 1137-1158, September.
  9. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  10. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(1), pages 38-67, 03.
  11. Voigt, Stefan, 1997. " Positive Constitutional Economics: A Survey," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 90(1-4), pages 11-53, March.
  12. Mueller, Dennis C, 1991. "Constitutional Rights," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 313-33, Fall.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bri:cmpowp:04/109. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.