Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 571–600

Constitutions, voting and democracy: A review

  • Norman Schofield

DOI: 10.1007/s003550000077

Cite this article as:
Schofield, N. Soc Choice Welfare (2001) 18: 571. doi:10.1007/s003550000077


This review of William Riker's work suggests that his interest in rational choice theory was based on his desire to understand profound constitutional transformation in U.S. political history. Although he argued that “anything can happen in politics,” his use of the notion of heresthetic allowed him to focus on key contingent events. Indeed his later work added depth to his inductive generalizations on the nature of “federal bargains” and coalition formation.  Recent work by Austen-Smith and Banks, Merrill and Grofman, and Lijphart is also discussed in the light of Riker's earlier ideas on voting and democracy.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Norman Schofield
    • 1
  1. 1.Center in Political Economy, Campus Box 1208, Washington University, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA (e-mail: