Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 2–18 | Cite as

A framework for the study of firms as constitutional orders

  • Anthony J. EvansEmail author
  • Nikolai G. Wenzel
Original Paper


Much of the literature on corporate performance focuses on institutional restructuring, and implicitly assumes that constitutional factors are determined exogenously. Existing theories of the firm—whether a “goal paradigm” or an “exchange paradigm”—provide useful insights; but we find them incomplete because they miss the extent to which companies build unique and meaningful constitutional orders. Building on Vanberg (Const Polit Econ 3(2):223–253, 1992), we investigate the extent to which the field of constitutional political economy (CPE) can improve our understanding of organisations, by providing a typology of CPE that can be applied to a study of firms. We make a distinction among (1) operational; (2) institutional; and (3) constitutional levels of management, and based on the CPE literature argue that “constitutional” considerations help us to define the boundaries of a firm and its operational environment.


Constitutional management Theory of the firm Institutions 

JEL Classification

B53 D23 L22 P51 



Versions of this paper have been presented at meetings of the Association of Private Enterprise Education (2008), Southern Economics Association (2008), European Academy of Management (2009) and Universidad Francisco Marroquin (2011); we thank our discussants for feedback. We also appreciate useful comments from Maria Minitti, Larry Stimpert, and two anonymous referees. As always, thanks to the Henry C. Simons Circle at George Mason University. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ESCP-EAP European School of ManagementLondonUK
  2. 2.Florida Gulf Coast UniversityFort MyersUSA

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