IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/sip/dpaper/08-022.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Malleable Constitutions: Reflections on State Constitutional Reform

Author

Listed:
  • Bruce Cain

    (UC Berkeley)

  • Roger Noll

    () (Stanford University)

Abstract

While the U.S. Constitution is difficult to amend, most states constitutions are much easier to amend. This essay explores the implications of easily amended constitutions on the nature and quality of government. Theoretically, malleable constitutions can be more innovative and responsive to changes in society; however, they also are more likely to become another venue in which interest-group policy conflicts are played out and less likely to reflect serious deliberation among both government officials and voters. Highly stable constitutions can provide more durable protection of individual rights and other benefits based on the stability of government institutions. Our review of the experiences of state governance under malleable constitutions concludes that states can capture the benefits of both stability and malleability, and thereby improve their quality of constitutional governance, by establishing a brighter line between easy to accomplish amendments and more difficult to accomplish constitutional revisions and replacements. In particular, we recommend that constitutional provisions that establish individual political and human rights should be changed only through the revision process, while provisions about the details of governance institutions should be subject to change by an easier amendment process.

Suggested Citation

  • Bruce Cain & Roger Noll, 2009. "Malleable Constitutions: Reflections on State Constitutional Reform," Discussion Papers 08-022, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:08-022
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/08-022.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Constitutional Reform; Government Stability; Human Rights;

    JEL classification:

    • K10 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - General (Constitutional Law)

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:08-022. 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: (Anne Shor). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cestaus.html .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.