Public Choice

, Volume 117, Issue 1–2, pp 99–124 | Cite as

Constitutionalism, Division of Power and Transaction Costs

  • Niclas Berggren
  • Nils Karlson

Abstract

According to many democracytheorists, there is an unavoidabletrade-off between constitutionalism and theneed for political action. This papercriticizes that belief. Rather, it arguesthat a division of power, while sometimesentailing high political transaction costs,can nevertheless be beneficial andthat it is not necessarily the case that adivision of power does entail hightransaction costs. The analysis expands theframework of Buchanan and Tullock (1962).Constitutionalism is thus defended againstone of its main perceived deficiencies: itsbringing about gridlock. This does notalways happen, and when it does, it isoften a good thing.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Almond, B. (1993). Rights. In Singer, P. (Ed.), A companion to ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  2. Ayer, A.J. (1967). Ethics for logical positivists. In Language, truth and logic. London: Victor Gollancz.Google Scholar
  3. Bellamy, R. (1996). The political form of constitution: The separation of powers, rights and representative government. In Bellamy, R. and Castiglione, D. (Eds.), Constitutionalism in transformation: European and theoretical perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Benz, M. and Stutzer, A. (2002). Are voters better informed when they have a larger say in politics? Mimeo. Paper presented at the Meeting of the European Public Choice Society in Belgirate, Italy. April.Google Scholar
  5. Berggren, N. and Bergström, F. (1999). A constitutional analysis of selectivity in economic policy-making. In Berggren, N., Karlson, N. and Nergelius, J. (Eds.), Makt utan motvikt: om demokrati och konstitutionalism [Power without counterpoise: On democracy and constitutionalism]. Stockholm: City University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Berggren, N. and Kurrild-Klitgaard, P. (2002). The economic effects of political institutions, with special reference to constitutions. In Berggren, N., Karlson, N. and Nergelius, J. (Eds.), Why constitutions matter. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  7. Bogdanor, V. (1997). Power and the people: A guide to constitutional reform. London: Victor Gollancz.Google Scholar
  8. Brennan, G. and Buchanan, J.M. (1985). The reason of rules: Constitutional political economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Brennan, G. and Hamlin, A. (2000). Democratic devices and desires. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Buchanan, J.M. (1975). The limits of liberty: Between anarchy and Leviathan. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  11. Buchanan, J.M. (1987). Constitution of economic policy. In Tollison, R.D. and Vanberg, V.J. (Eds.), Economics: Between predictive science and moral philosophy. College Station: Texas A & M University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Buchanan, J.M. (2000). Direct democracy, classical liberalism, and constitutional strategy. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Santiago, Chile. November.Google Scholar
  13. Buchanan, J.M. (2002). Why do constitutions matter?. In Berggren, N., Karlson, N. and Nergelius, J. (Eds.), Why constitutions matter. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  14. Buchanan, J.M. and Congleton, R.D. (1998). Politics by principle, not interest: Towards nondiscriminatory democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Buchanan, J.M. and Tullock, G. (1962). The calculus of consent: Logical foundations of constitutional democracy. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  16. Burke, E. (1975). On government, politics and society. In Hill, B.W. (Ed.). Brighton: Fontana/The Harvester Press.Google Scholar
  17. Castiglione, D. (1996). The political theory of constitution. In Bellamy, R. and Castiglione, D. (Eds.), Constitutionalism in transformation: European and theoretical perspectives. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  18. Charlot, J. and Charlot, M. (1992). France. In Butler, D. and Ranney, A. (Eds.), Electioneering: A comparative study of continuity and change. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  19. Cooter, R.D. (2000). The strategic constitution. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  20. Dahl, R.A. (1989). Democracy and its critics. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Duverger, M. (1991). A new political system model: Semipresidential government. In Lijphart, A. (Ed.), Parliamentary versus presidential government. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Dworkin, R. (1977). Taking rights seriously. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  23. Elster, J. (1979). Ulysses and the sirens: Studies in rationality and irrationality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Elster, J. (1988). Introduction. In Elster, J. and Slagstad, R. (Eds.), Constitutionalism and democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Elster, J. (1998a). Deliberation and constitution making. In Elster, J. (Ed.), Deliberative democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Elster, J. (1998b). Introduction. In Elster, J. (Ed.), Deliberative democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Fearon, J.D. (1998). Deliberation as discussion. In Elster, J. (Ed.), Deliberative democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Feld, L.P. and Kirchgässner, G. (2000). Direct democracy, political culture, and the outcome of economic policy: Some Swiss experience. European Journal of Political Economy 16: 287-306.Google Scholar
  29. Feld, L.P. and Matsusaka, J.G. (2000). Budget referendums and government spending: Evidence from Swiss Cantons. Paper presented at the Meeting of the European Public Choice Society in Siena, Italy. April.Google Scholar
  30. Feld, L.P. and Savioz, M.R. (1997). Direct democracy matters for economic performance: An empirical investigation. Kyklos 50: 507-538.Google Scholar
  31. Frey, B.S. (1994). Direct democracy: Politico-economic lessons from the Swiss experience. American Economic Review 84: 338-348.Google Scholar
  32. Frey, B.S. (1997). A constitution for knaves crowds out civic virtues. Economic Journal 10. 1043-1053.Google Scholar
  33. Frey, B.S. (2000). The future of democracy: More direct citizen participation. Paper presented at the Meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in Santiago, Chile. November.Google Scholar
  34. Frey, B.S. and Pommerehne, W.W. (1995). Public expenditure on the arts and direct democracy: The use of referenda in Switzerland. Cultural Policy 2: 55-65.Google Scholar
  35. Frey, B.S. and Stutzer, A. (2002). Happiness and economics: How the economy and institutions affect human well-being. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Gambetta, D. (1998). "Claro!": An essay on discursive machismo. In Elster, J. (Ed.), Deliberative democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Gutman, A. and Thompson, D. (2000). Why deliberative democracy is different. Social Philosophy and Policy 17: 161-180.Google Scholar
  38. Gordon, S. (1999). Controlling the state: Constitutionalism from ancient Athens to today. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Habermas, J. (1992). Faktizität und Geltung: Beiträge zur Diskurstheorie des Rechts und des demokratischen Rechtsstaats. Frankfurt: M. Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  40. Hamilton, A., Jay, J. and Madison, J. (1778/1961). The federalist papers. New York: New American Library.Google Scholar
  41. Hare, R.M. (1981). Moral thinking: Its level, method and point. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  42. Hayek, F.A. (1937). Economics and knowledge. Economica 4: 33-54.Google Scholar
  43. Hayek, F.A. (1960). The constitution of liberty. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  44. Hayek, F.A. (1973). Law, legislation and liberty. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Henisz, W.J. (2000). The institutional environment for economic growth. Economics and Politics 12: 1-31.Google Scholar
  46. Hermansson, J. (1988). The majority as a guarantee of the general will: A note on the constitutional theory of Rosseau. In Anckar, D., Nurmi, H. and Wiberg, M. (Eds.), Rationality and legitimacy: Essays on political Theory. Jyväskylä: The Finnish Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  47. Holmes, S. (1988). Precommitment and the paradox of democracy. In Elster, J. and Slagstad, R. (Eds.), Constitutionalism and democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  48. Hooker, B. (2000). Ideal code, real world: A rule-consequentialist theory of morality. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  49. Karlson, N. (2001). The state of state: Invisible hands in politics and civil society. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. Landes, W.M. and Posner, R.A. (1975). The independent judiciary in an interest group perspective. Journal of Law and Economics 18: 875-901.Google Scholar
  51. Lane, J.-E. (1996). Constitutions and political theory. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Lane, J.-E. and Ersson, S. (2000). The new institutional politics: Performance and outcomes. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  53. Lijphart, A. (1999). Patterns of democracy: Government forms and performance in thirty-six countries. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Linz, J.J. (1994). Presidentialism or parliamentary democracy: Does it make a difference? In Linz, J.J. and Valenzuela, A. (Eds.), The failure of presidential democracy. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Lively, J. (1975). Democracy. Oxford: Basil BlackwellGoogle Scholar
  56. Macey, J.R. (1988). Transaction costs and the normative elements of the public choice model: An application to constitutional theory. Virginia Law Review 74: 471-518.Google Scholar
  57. List, C. (2002). Two concepts of agreement. The Good Society 11: 72-79.Google Scholar
  58. List, C., McLean, I., Fishkin, J. and Luskin, R. (2000). Can deliberation induce greater preference structuration? Evidence from deliberative opinion polls. Proceedings of the American Political Science Association.Google Scholar
  59. Mainwaring, S. (1990). Presidentialism in Latin America. Latin America Reserach Review 25: 157-179.Google Scholar
  60. Mainwaring, S. and Soberg Shugart, M. (Eds.) (1997). Presidentialism and democracy in Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Matsusaka, J.G. (2000). Fiscal effects of the voter initiative in the first half of the twentieth century. Journal of Law and Economics 43: 619-650.Google Scholar
  62. Mill, J.S. (1861/1972). Considerations on representative government. London: J.M. Dent & Sons.Google Scholar
  63. Miller, G.J. and Hammond, T.H. (1989). Stability and efficiency in a separation-of-powers constitutional system. In Grofman, B. and Wittman, D. (Eds.), The federalist papers and the new institutionalism. New York: Agathon Press.Google Scholar
  64. Moberg, E. (1998). The expanding public sector: A threat to democracy? In Eliasson, G. and Karlson, N. (Eds.), The limits of government: On policy competence and economic growth. Stockholm: City University Press.Google Scholar
  65. Moberg, E. (1999). Positive and normative aspects of direct democracy: The case of Sweden in a general context. In Berggren, N., Karlson, N. and Nergelius, J. (Eds.), Makt utan motvikt: om demokrati och konstitutionalism [Power without counterpoise: On democracy and constitutionalism]. Stockholm: City University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Montesquieu, C. de Secondat (1748/1990). The spirit of the laws. Chicago: Encyclopaedia.Google Scholar
  67. Moser, P. (1999). The impact of legislative institutions on public policy: A survey. European Journal of Political Economy 15: 1-33.Google Scholar
  68. North, D.C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change and economic performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  69. Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, state, and utopia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  70. Peczenik, A. (2002). Why constitution? What constitution? Constraints on majority rule. In Berggren, N., Karlson, N. and Nergelius, J. (Eds.), Why constitutions matter. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  71. Persson, T. and Tabellini, G. (2001a). Do constitutions cause large governments? Quasiexperimental evidence? Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  72. Persson, T. and Tabellini, G. (2001b). Political institutions and policy outcomes: What are the stylized facts? Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  73. Peters, T. (1996). Decision-making after the EU intergovernmental conference. European Law Journal 3: 251–266.Google Scholar
  74. Posner, R.A. (1987). The constitution as an economic document. George Washington Law Review 56: 4-38.Google Scholar
  75. Rawls, J. (1971).A theory of justice. Cambridge: Belknap Press.Google Scholar
  76. Riker, W.H. (1975). Federalism. In Greenstein, F.I. and Polsby, N.W. (Eds.), Handbook of political science, Vol. 5: Governmental institutions and processes. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  77. Riker, W.H. (1982). Liberalism versus populism: A confrontation between the theory of democracy and the theory of social choice. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman.Google Scholar
  78. Robinson, D. (Ed.) (1985). Reforming American government: The bicentennial papers of the committee on the constitutional system. Boulder: Westview.Google Scholar
  79. Rousseau, J.-J. (1967). The social contract and discourse on the origin of inequality. New York: Washington Square Press.Google Scholar
  80. Sartori, G. (1987). The theory of democracy revisited, part one: The contemporary debate. Chatham: Chatham House Publishers.Google Scholar
  81. Scharpf, F.W. (1988). The joint-decision trap: Lessons from German federalism and European integration. Public Administration 66: 239-278.Google Scholar
  82. Scharpf, F.W. (1999). Governing Europe: Effective and democratic? Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  83. Sen, A. (1987). On ethics and economics. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  84. Simon, H. (1955). A behavioral model of rational choice. Quarterly Journal of Economics 69: 99-118.Google Scholar
  85. Simon, H. (1990). Invariants of human behavior. Annual Review of Psychology 41: 1-19.Google Scholar
  86. Stokes, S.C. (1998). Pathologies of deliberation. In Elster, J. (Ed.), Deliberative democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  87. Wachendorfer-Schmidt, U. (2000). Introduction. In Wachendorfer-Schmidt, U. (Ed.), Federalism and political performance. London: Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science.Google Scholar
  88. Vanberg, V.J. (1994). Rules and choice in economics: Essays in constitutional political economy. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  89. Vanberg, V.J. and Buchanan, J.M. (1989). Interests and theories in constitutional choice.Journal of Theoretical Politics 1: 49-62.Google Scholar
  90. Voigt, S. (2001). The consequences of popular participation in constitutional choice: Towards a comparative analysis. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  91. Wohlgemuth, M. (2002). Evolutionary approaches to politics. Kyklos 55: 223-246.Google Scholar
  92. Zimmerman, K.W. and Just, T. (2000). Interest groups, referenda, and the political process: On the efficiency of direct democracy. Constitutional Political Economy 11: 147-163.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niclas Berggren
    • 1
  • Nils Karlson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ratio InstituteStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations