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Ordinary elections and constitutional arrangement

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  • SALMON, Pierre

    () (LATEC - Université de Bourgogne)

Abstract

It is widely held that voting in the course of ordinary elections has no significant influence on the constitutional regime or order of a country. At least three powerful arguments are provided in support of that view. First, to claim that, at the same time as they play, players can change the rules is, to say the least, logically puzzling. A second argument refers to the motivations and possibilities of voters: voters, this argument says, are not really interested in constitutional issues and, even if they were, are particularly ill-equiped to understand their implications. The third argument rests on the observation of what obtains in practice: as a matter of fact, constitutional issues are generally absent from electoral campaigns. After a discussion of what should be included in the constitutional "order, "regime" or "arrangements" of a country, the paper endeavours to neutralize each of the three arguments and show that voters do exercise a very susbstantial influence on constitutional matters simply by the way of their vote in ordinary elections.

Suggested Citation

  • SALMON, Pierre, 1999. "Ordinary elections and constitutional arrangement," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 1999-10, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
  • Handle: RePEc:lat:lateco:1999-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. William Niskanen, 1990. "Conditions affecting the survivial of constitutional rules," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 53-62, March.
    2. Tirole, Jean, 1994. "The Internal Organization of Government," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(1), pages 1-29, January.
    3. James Buchanan, 1990. "The domain of constitutional economics," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-18, December.
    4. Russell Hardin, 1990. "Contractarianism: Wistful thinking," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 35-52, March.
    5. Salmon, Pierre, 1987. "Decentralisation as an Incentive Scheme," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 24-43, Summer.
    6. Steven Maser, 1985. "Demographic factors affecting constitutional decisions: the case of municipal charters," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 121-162, January.
    7. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1991. "Multitask Principal-Agent Analyses: Incentive Contracts, Asset Ownership, and Job Design," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(0), pages 24-52, Special I.
    8. Peter Ordeshook, 1992. "Constitutional stability," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 137-175, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. BRETON, Albert & SALMON, Pierre, 2002. "Constitutional rules and competitive politics : their effects on secessionism," LATEC - Document de travail - Economie (1991-2003) 2002-06, LATEC, Laboratoire d'Analyse et des Techniques EConomiques, CNRS UMR 5118, Université de Bourgogne.
    2. Pierre Salmon, 2001. "Constitutional Implications of Electoral Assumptions," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 12(4), pages 333-349, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    constitutional economics; elections; constitutional change; économie constitutionnelle; élections; changements constitutionnels;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)

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