Does the Process of Constitution-Making Matter?

Posted: 4 Jun 2010  

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School

Zachary Elkins

University of Texas, Austin

Justin Blount

University of Illinois at Chicago

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2009

Abstract

Constitution-making is a ubiquitous but poorly understood phenomenon. There is much speculation but relatively little evidence about the impact of different design processes on constitutional outcomes. Much of the debate reduces to the question of who is involved in the process and when. We consider two central issues in this regard. The first is the problem of institutional self-dealing, or whether governmental organs that have something to gain from the constitutional outcome should be involved in the process. The second has to do with the merits of public involvement in the process. Both of these concerns have clear normative implications and both are amenable to straightforward social scientific analysis. This article surveys the relevant research on constitution-making, describes the conceptual issues involved in understanding constitution-making, reviews the various claims regarding variation in constitution-making processes, and presents a set of baseline empirical results from a new set of data on the content and process of constitution-making.

Suggested Citation

Ginsburg, Tom and Elkins, Zachary and Blount, Justin, Does the Process of Constitution-Making Matter? (December 2009). Annual Review of Law and Social Science, Vol. 5, pp. 201-223, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1599999 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev.lawsocsci.4.110707.172247

Tom Ginsburg (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Zachary Elkins

University of Texas, Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Justin Blount

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

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