European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 97–115 | Cite as

The Evolution of a Fiscal Constitution When Individuals are Theoretically Uncertain

  • Jan Schnellenbach


In contrast to the contractarian approach to constitutional economics, we follow Voigt (1999) in assuming that constitutional rules are closely connected to informal institutions and that their evolution is a matter of interest group activity and implicit re-interpretation. We add to this the assumption of theoretical uncertainty of individuals regarding the working properties of constitutional rules. Collective learning processes are considered as the third driving force of constitutional evolution, and at the same time as the source of path-dependencies which allow suboptimal constitutions to persist. Finally, it is argued that direct legislation offers more protection than a written fiscal constitution.

positive constitutional economics collective learning path-dependent rule-evolution 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Schnellenbach
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for Public FinancePhilipps-University Marburg, Faculty of EconomicsMarburgGermany

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