Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp 171–179 | Cite as

Same players, different game: how better rules make better politics

  • James M. BuchananEmail author
Original Paper


In this essay, I summarize a whole area of inquiry associated with constitutional political economy. I first try to outline the elements of political structure, the political rules that clearly influence the outcomes of the process. I look, briefly, at a range of specific structures that, taken together, will shape the constitution of any organized democratic polity. This constitution will, in its turn, influence the pattern of collective outcomes that may be observed. I argue that the disparate success of differing political communities in achieving objectives that seem to be commonly shared may be primarily due to the mix of elements in the basic structure of rules, and not to the differences as among the political players.

JEL Classification

D70 H00 


Rules of the game Constitutional choice 


  1. Buchanan, J. M., & Congleton, R. D. (1998). Politics by principle, not interest: Toward nondiscriminatory democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Wicksell, K. (1896). Finanztheoretische Untersuchungen. Jena: Gustav Fischer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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