Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 371–394 | Cite as

Constitutionalism, prosperity, democracy: Transition in Eastern Europe

  • Cass R. Sunstein


Eastern Europe is now undergoing three distinct transitions: to markets, to democracy, and to constitutionalism. Under current conditions, the transition to constitutionalism is a logical precondition for the transitions to markets and democracy. To protect both of these, it is especially necessary to develop an “economic bill of rights” for inclusion in the new constitutions. This bill of rights should include the rule of law, protection of private property, freedom of contract, occupational liberty, the right to travel within and without the nation, and a prohibition on government monopolies; other similar provisions should be considered as well. The new constitutions should not include general aspirations, duties, or positive rights. The eventual development of an economic bill of rights—a precommitment strategy designed to promote prosperity and democracy—could constitute a new and important contribution to the theory and practice of constitutionalism.


Economic Theory Private Property Eventual Development Distinct Transition Similar Provision 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aristotle (1946)The Politics. Translated by E. Baker. Oxford: The Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Coase, R.H. (1960) “The Problem of Social Cost.”Journal of Law and Economics 3: 1–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Demsetz, H. (1967) “Toward a Theory of Property Rights.”American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 57: 347–359.Google Scholar
  4. Epstein, R. (1988) “Unconstitutional Conditions, State Power, and the Limits of Content.”Harvard Law Review 102: 4–104.Google Scholar
  5. Fuller, L. (1964)The Morality of the Law. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Glendon, M. (1991)Rights Talk. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  7. Hardin, G. (1968) “The Tragedy of the Commons.”Science 162: 1243–1248.Google Scholar
  8. Hayek, F. (1944)The Road to Serfdom. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Holmes, S. (1986) “Gag Rules and Democracy.” In: Elster and R. Slagstad (eds)Constitutionalism and Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Kelman, S. (1981)What Price Incentives? Boston: Auburn House.Google Scholar
  11. Locke, J. (1960)Two Treaties on Government. Edited by P. Laslett. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  12. Mill, J.S. (1958)Considerations on Representative Government. Edited by C.V. Shields. New York: Liberal Arts Press.Google Scholar
  13. Rosenberg, G. (1991)The Hollow Hope. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Sen, A. (1981)Poverty and Families: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  15. Sullivan, K. (1989) “Unconstitutional Conditions.” Harvard Law Review 102: 1415–1506.Google Scholar
  16. Sunstein, C.R. (1991) “Why Markets Don't Stop Discrimination.”Social Philosophy & Policy 8: 22–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Ullmann-Margalit, E. (1977)The Emergence of Norms. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  18. Waldron, J. (1988)The Right to Private Property. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© George Mason University 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cass R. Sunstein

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations