Public Choice

, Volume 117, Issue 1, pp 99–124

Constitutionalism, Division of Power and Transaction Costs

  • Niclas Berggren
  • Nils Karlson

DOI: 10.1023/A:1026105322993

Cite this article as:
Berggren, N. & Karlson, N. Public Choice (2003) 117: 99. doi:10.1023/A:1026105322993


According to many democracytheorists, there is an unavoidabletrade-off between constitutionalism and theneed for political action. This papercriticizes that belief. Rather, it arguesthat a division of power, while sometimesentailing high political transaction costs,can nevertheless be beneficial andthat it is not necessarily the case that adivision of power does entail hightransaction costs. The analysis expands theframework of Buchanan and Tullock (1962).Constitutionalism is thus defended againstone of its main perceived deficiencies: itsbringing about gridlock. This does notalways happen, and when it does, it isoften a good thing.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niclas Berggren
    • 1
  • Nils Karlson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ratio InstituteStockholmSweden

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