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Public Choice, Constitutional Political Economy and Law and Economics


  • Ludwig van den Hauwe


The various subdisciplines within the emerging ‘new institutionalism’ in economics all draw special attention to the legal-political constraints within which economic and political agents choose and therefore represent a return of economics to its appropriate legal foundations. By changing the name of his research programme to constitutional political economy Buchanan distanced himself from those parts of the public choice literature that remained too close to the traditional welfare economics approach. This chapter draws lessons for law and economics from recent developments in the re-emerging field of constitutional political economy. CPE compares alternative sets of institutional arrangements, in markets and the polity, and their outcomes, using ‘democratic consent’ as an internal standard of comparison. The chapter discusses the methodological foundation of the CPE approach, presents Buchanan’s reconstruction of the Coase theorem along subjectivist-contractarian lines and gives an overview of recent contributions to the literature. JEL classification: B41, D70, H10 Keywords: Constitutional Economics, Constitutional Political Economy, Public Choice, James M. Buchanan, Methodological Foundation

Suggested Citation

  • Ludwig van den Hauwe, 2005. "Public Choice, Constitutional Political Economy and Law and Economics," Method and Hist of Econ Thought 0508001, EconWPA, revised 09 Aug 2005.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmh:0508001
    Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 57.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Coase, R H, 1992. "The Institutional Structure of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 713-719, September.
    2. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1975. "The Independent Judiciary in an Interest-Group Perspective," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(3), pages 875-901, December.
    3. Demsetz, Harold, 1969. "Information and Efficiency: Another Viewpoint," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(1), pages 1-22, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Van Den Hauwe, Ludwig, 2017. "Monetary Constitutionalism: Some Recent Developments," MPRA Paper 83052, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Syed Arshad Hussain Shah & Syed Akhter Hussain Shah & Mahmood Khalid, 2007. "Incompatibility of Laws and Natural Resources: A Case Study of Land Revenue Laws and Their Implications in Federal Areas of Pakistan," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 46(4), pages 1105-1117.

    More about this item


    Constitutional Economics; Constitutional Political Economy; Public Choice; James M. Buchanan; Methodological Foundation;

    JEL classification:

    • B - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology


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