Advertisement

Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 127–137 | Cite as

Constitutional politics within the interest-group model

  • Daniel Sutter
Articles

Abstract

I examine constitutional politics using the interest-group model of politics. Constitutional economics argues that rent seeking is inevitable in majoritarian democracy and genuine reform is possible only at the constitutional level. By implication the constitutional equilibrium must differ from the political equilibrium. I examine reasons that such a difference might exist but find weak prospects for a general-interest victory over the special interest in constitutional politics. Although implicit constitutional change (for example, through Supreme Court reinterpretation) and explicit violation are substitute means of altering the constitution, the former dominates the latter. This suggests that a third factor participates in constitutional politics in addition to the general and special interests, which is support for the Constitution itself. Effective rules to restrain rent seeking need to ensure the congruence of the constitutional and general interests.

Keywords

Special Interest General Interest Constitutional Level Rent Seek Political Equilibrium 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ackerman, B. (1991)We The People. Vol. 1, Foundations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, G. M., D. T. Martin, W. F. Shughart, and R. D. Tollison. (1990) “Behind the Veil: The Political Economy of Constitutional Change”. In: Crain, W. M., and Tollison, R. D., (eds.),Predicting Politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  3. Anderson, G. M., W. F. Shughart, and R. D. Tollison. (1989) “On Incentives of Judges to Enforce Legislative Wealth Transfers”.Journal of Law and Economics 32: 215–228.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, G. S. (1983) “A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence”.Quarterly Journal of Economics 98: 371–400.Google Scholar
  5. Becker, G. S. (1985) “Public Policies, Pressure Groups, and Dead Weight Costs”.Journal of Public Economics 28: 329–347.Google Scholar
  6. Becker, T. L., and M. M. Freeley (ed.). (1973)The Impact of Supreme Court Decisions (2nd ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bernstein, R. B., and J. Agel. (1993)Amending America. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  8. Boudreaux, D. J., and A. C. Pritchard (1993) “Rewriting the Constitution: An Economic Analysis of the Constitutional Amendment Process”.Fordham Law Review 62: 111–162.Google Scholar
  9. Boudreaux, D. J., and A. C. Pritchard. (1994) “Reassessing the Role of the Independent Judiciary in Enforcing Interest-Group Bargains”.Constitutional Political Economy 5: 1–21.Google Scholar
  10. Brennan, G., and J. M. Buchanan. (1985)The Reason of Rules. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Buchanan, J. M. (1990) “The Domain of Constitutional Economics”.Constitutional Political Economy 1(1): 1–18.Google Scholar
  12. Buchanan, J. M., and D. R. Lee. (1991) “Cartels, Coalitions, and Constitutional Politics”.Constitutional Political Economy 2: 139–161.Google Scholar
  13. Crain, W. M., and R. D. Tollison. (1979) “Constitutional Change in an Interest Group Perspective”.Journal of Legal Studies 8: 165–175.Google Scholar
  14. Dahl, R. (1957) “Decision-making in a Democracy: The Supreme Court as a National Policy-Maker”.Journal of Public Law 6: 279–295.Google Scholar
  15. Hentoff, N. (1980)The First Freedom: The Tumultuous History of Free Speech in America. New York: Delacorte Press.Google Scholar
  16. Landes, W. M., and R. A. Posner. (1975) “The Independent Judiciary in an Interest Group Perspective”.Journal of Law and Economics 18: 875–901.Google Scholar
  17. Lee, D. R., and R. B. mcKenzie. (1987)Regulating Government: A Preface to Constitutional Economics. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  18. Leuchtenburg, W. E. (1966) “The Origins of Franklin D. Roosevelt's ‘Court-Packing’ Plan”. In: Kurland, P. B. (ed.),The Supreme Court Review. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  19. Lloyd, R. E., and J. P. McGarrity. (1995) “A Probit Analysis of the Senate Vote on Gramm-Rudman”.Public Choice 85: 81–90.Google Scholar
  20. Marshall, T. R. (1989)Public Opinion and the Supreme Court. Boston: Unwin Hyman.Google Scholar
  21. Mueller, D. (1991) “Constitutional Rights”.Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 7: 313–333.Google Scholar
  22. Siegan, B. H. (1980)Economic Liberties and the Constitution. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  23. Sutter, D. (1995) “Observability and the Monitoring of the Constitutional Contract”. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  24. Toma, E. F. (1991) “Congressional Influence and the Supreme Court: The Budget as a Signalling Device”.Journal of Legal Studies 20: 131–146.Google Scholar
  25. Twight, C. (1988) “Government Manipulation of Constitutional-Level Transactions Costs: A General Theory of Transaction-Cost Augmentation and the Growth of Government”.Public Choice 56: 131–152.Google Scholar
  26. Twight, C. (1992) “Constitutional Renegotiation: Impediments to Consensual Revision”.Constitutional Political Economy 3: 89–112.Google Scholar
  27. Vanberg, V. J., and R. D. Congleton. (1992) “Rationality, Morality, and Exit”.American Political Science Review 86: 418–431.Google Scholar
  28. Wagner, R. E. (1987) “Parchment, Guns, and the Maintenance of Constitutional Order”. In: Rowley, C. K. (ed.),Democracy and Public Choice: Essays in Honor of Gordon Tullock. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  29. Wagner, R.E. (1989)To Promote the General Welfare. San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute.Google Scholar
  30. Wagner, R. E., and J. D. Gwartney. (1988) “Public Choice and Constitutional Order”. In: Gwartney, J. D., and Wagner, R. E. (eds.),Public Choice and Constitutional Economics. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  31. Warren, C. (1922)The Supreme Court in United States History. 2 vols. Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  32. Wicksell, K. (1958) “A New Principle of Just Taxation”. In: Musgrave, R. A., and Peacock, A. T. (eds.),Classics in the Theory of Public Finance. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Sutter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of OklahomaNorman

Personalised recommendations