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Hardcover | $17.75 Short | £14.95 | 408 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 14 illus. | June 2006 | ISBN: 9780262033497
Paperback | $8.75 X | £7.95 | 408 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 14 illus. | May 2006 | ISBN: 9780262532808
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Democratic Constitutional Design and Public Policy

Analysis and Evidence


The variety of constitutional designs found in democratic governments has important effects on policy choices and outcomes. That is the conclusion reached in Democratic Constitutional Design and Public Policy, in which the constitutional procedures and constraints through which laws and public policies are adopted--election laws, the general architecture of government, the legal system, and methods for amendment and reform--are evaluated for their political and economic effects. Leading scholars, many of them pioneers in the new field of constitutional political economy, survey and extend recent empirical evidence on the policy effects of different constitutional procedures and restraints. Their findings are relevant not only to such dramatic changes as democratic transition throughout the world and the development of a European constitution but also to the continuing process of constitutional reform in established democracies. Using the tools of rational choice analysis, the contributors approach the question of constitutional design from public choice, new institutionalist, and new political economy perspectives. Drawing on empirical evidence largely from the OECD countries, the book analyzes such issues as the policy effects of direct (as opposed to representative) democracy, democratic accountability in presidential as compared to parliamentary government, bicameralism and its relation to stable policies, the relative effectiveness of centralized and decentralized governments, the civil and legal regulatory system as a nation's "economic constitution," and the link between constitutional stability and the amendment process.

Contributors: John C. Bradbury, Roger D. Congleton, W. Mark Crain, Daniel Diermeier, Lars Feld, Bruno Frey, James D. Gwartney, Randall Holcombe, Hülya Eraslan, Brian Knight, Robert A. Lawson Antonio Merlo, Dennis Mueller, Torsten Persson, Bjørn Erik Rasch, Thomas Stratmann, Alois Stutzer, Birgitta Swedenborg, Guido Tabellini, Stefan Voigt, Barry Weingast

About the Editors

Roger D. Congleton is Professor of Economics and Senior Research Associate at the Center for Study of Public Choice at George Mason University and Senior Research Associate at the Center for Business and Policy Studies (SNS) in Stockholm.

Birgitta Swedenborg is Research Director of SNS and coauthor of Turning Sweden Around (MIT Press, 1994).


“This book brings together some of the most exciting recent work on what makes constitutions work and what causes them to fail. In territory that was until recently the exclusive province of lawyers, an eminent group of economists and political scientists gambol freely, with fascinating results. It will be essential for scholars and students of constitutional theory.”
Iain McLean, Professor of Politics, University of Oxford
“This is an undertaking of major importance not only for social scientists but for government officials and advisors. Democratic Constitutional Design and Public Policy is an exemplar of how to translate rigorous and demanding research into clearly stated ideas and arguments that should inform the efforts of anyone concerned with nation building or government reform.”
Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, Department of Politics, New York University, and Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution