Constitutional Political Economy

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 195–213 | Cite as

Consent for Change: Article V and The Constitutional Amendment Process

  • Thomas F. Schaller


The political economy of U.S. constitutional amendmentswithin the guidelines of Article V is shown to tend toward minoritarianism.Specifically, two shifts reduce the consent necessary to passamendments, each potentially raising the social costs of changingthe Constitution by amendment. A typology of amending “climates”is offered, followed by a discussion of the normative implicationsfor constitutional stability of minoritarian rule in amendmentpolitics.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arrow, K. J. (1963) Social Choice and Individual Values, 2nd edition. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bernstein, R. B. (1993) Amending America. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  3. Brennan, G., and Buchanan, J. M. (1985) The Reason of Rules. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Buchanan, J. M., and Tullock, G. (1965) The Calculus of Consent. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  5. Caplan, R. L. (1988) Constitutional Brinkmanship. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Caplin, A., and Nalebuff, B. (1988) “On 64%-Majority Rule.” Econometrica 56: 787–814.Google Scholar
  7. Dahl, R. A. (1956) A Preface to Democratic Theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Grimes, A. P. (1978) Democracy and the Amendments to the Constitution. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  9. Groseclose, T., and Snyder, J. M. (1996) “Buying Supermajorities.” American Political Science Review90: 303–15.Google Scholar
  10. Hinich, M., and Munger, M. C. (1997, forthcoming) Analytical Politics.Google Scholar
  11. Lutz, D. S. (1994) “Toward a Theory of Constitutional Amendment.” American Political Science Review 88: 355–68.Google Scholar
  12. Mansbridge, J. J. (1986) Why We Lost ERA. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Martin, P. L. (1967) “Convention Ratification of Federal Constitutional Amendments.” Political Science Quarterly 82: 61–71.Google Scholar
  14. May, K. O. (1952) “A Set of Independent, Necessary and Sufficient Conditions for Simple Majority Decision.” Econometrica 20: 680–84.Google Scholar
  15. Markman, S. (1989) “The Amendment Process of Article V: A Microcosm of the Constitution.” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy12: 113–21.Google Scholar
  16. Munger, M. C., and Schaller, T. F. (1997) “The Prohibition-Repeal Amendments: ANatural Experiment in Interest Group Influence.” Public Choice 90: 139–63.Google Scholar
  17. Niskanen, W. A. (1990) “Conditions Affecting the Survival of Constitutional Rules.” Constitutional Political Economy 1: 53–62.Google Scholar
  18. Ordeshook, P. C. (1992) “Constitutional Stability.” Constitutional Political Economy 3: 137–75.Google Scholar
  19. Pitkin, H. F. (1967) The Concept of Representation. Berkeley, Cal.: UC Berkeley Press.Google Scholar
  20. Rabinowitz, G., and McDonald, S. E. (1986) “The Power of the States in U.S. Presidential Elections.” American Political Science Review 80: 65–88.Google Scholar
  21. Riker, W. H. (1982) Liberalism Against Populism. rospect Heights, Ill.: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  22. Rossiter, C. (1961) The Federalist Papers. New York: New American LibraryGoogle Scholar
  23. Stewart, C., and Weingast, B. R. (1992) “Stacking the Senate, Changing the Nation: Republican Rotten Boroughs, Statehood Politics, and American Political Development.” Studies in American Political Development 6: 223–71.Google Scholar
  24. Wood, G. S. (1980) “The Origins of Article V of the Constitution.” In: Moore, W. S. and Penner, R. G. (eds.) The Constitution and the Budget, 18–23. Washington: American Enterprise Institute.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas F. Schaller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceBinghamton UniversityBinghamton

Personalised recommendations