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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-83155
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2018/8315/

The Process of Constitution-Making : A Law and Economics Analysis

Der verfassungsgebende Prozess : Eine rechtsökonomische Analyse

Michel, Stephan

 Dokument 1.pdf (1.253 KB) 

Freie Schlagwörter (Englisch): Constitution , Constitution-Making , Political Economy , Referendums , Unamendability
Basisklassifikation: 83.11
Institut: European Doctorate in Law & Economics (EDLE)
DDC-Sachgruppe: Wirtschaft
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Voigt, Stefan (Prof. Dr.)
Sprache: Deutsch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 19.01.2017
Erstellungsjahr: 2017
Publikationsdatum: 09.07.2018
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: This dissertation analyzes the overarching question of how the process of constitution-making affects the written constitution. To shed more light on this issue from a broad perspective, positive and normative research questions are dealt with. Besides an introductory chapter, which sets the stage for the dissertation and an overview of the key literature in chapter 2, this dissertation consists of four content chapters and a short concluding chapter.
Chapter 3 deals with the question whether the process of constitution-making affects the choice of constitutional features. A rational-choice model shows how the introduction of a stage of constitution-making influences the constitutional choice of form of government. The set of assumptions used for this model fits particularly well for new and unstable democracies, which are at the same time the kind of countries that often change their constitution. So far, income inequality has been argued to be a key determinant for the choice of form of government (Robinson and Torvik, 2016). This chapter arrives at a different conclusion and shows that the effect of income inequality is determined by the composition of the constitutional assembly. Chapter 4 looks further into the details of the constitution-making process and discusses which procedural rules can effectively constrain the drafters. To analyze this question, we use a theoretical model as well as a regression analysis. The model highlights that drafters are willing to constrain themselves even without external rules when long-term rents are important to them. In situations with high uncertainty, these rents become less important and procedural rules are needed to constrain drafters. Ironically, the model shows that referendums work best as a tool to constrain drafters when uncertainty is low and worst when uncertainty is high. Thus, referendums alone are insufficient to properly constrain drafters.
Following this positive analysis, chapter 5 and chapter 6 deal with more normative issues. Chapter 5 follows up on the issue referendums for the ratification of constitutions and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of simple and qualified majority requirements. We argue that the nearly universal use of simple majority requirements cannot be normatively justified, especially given that most ratification procedures in constitutional assemblies require a qualified majority. We argue that path dependency and self-interest of drafters are the likely reasons for this double-standard of ratification. Chapter 6 focuses on one specific channel through which drafters can influence the constitutional development in the future, namely unamendable provisions. The function of these provisions is often described as a commitment device. We argue that a better way to understand their use is the view of paternalism, while their desirability for commitment purposes is questionable. A final chapter summarizes the findings in light of the limitations of this dissertationand discusses paths for future research.


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