The Constitutional Dilemma of Economic Liberty

Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 3, Summer 2005

20 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2008

See all articles by Barry R. Weingast

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2005

Abstract

This paper studies the problem of self-enforcing constitutions, addressing the question, how do some constitutions provide incentives for political officials to abide by the constraints announced in the constitution? To understand the mechanisms underlying successful constitutions, the paper begins by exploring a simple society facing the dilemma of policing the government: a sovereign, who controls the government, and two citizens. It then moves to a discussion of how constitutions are often formed out of crises, with some more detailed discussion of two main examples: England's Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the U.S. Constitution.

Suggested Citation

Weingast, Barry R., The Constitutional Dilemma of Economic Liberty (2005). Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 19, No. 3, Summer 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1153431

Barry R. Weingast (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-723-0497 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

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