Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 273–285 | Cite as

Club governments versus representative governments

  • Charles B. Blankart


The paper compares the legal rules for private clubs with the constitutions of representative governments. Though both institutions are designed to provide public goods for their members they are organized quite differently. In clubs the power to grant power must not be delegated to the agents, while in representative governments it usually is. The design of representative governments is shown to be inconsistent with a contractarian view of the constitution. A nearly perfect laboratory case for a club government can be found in the example of Switzerland. In this country citizens are absolute sovereigns over their constitution. The Swiss do not have a constitutional court, but have developed instead a system of popular voting rights serving as a substitute for a judicial review by a constitutional court. Though this system does not work perfectly, it has relative advantages compared to a constitutional court which often tends to become a political decisionmaker.

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Copyright information

© George Mason University 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles B. Blankart
    • 1
  1. 1.Humboldt University BerlinBerlin

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