Polycentrism, Self-Governance, and the Case of Married Women's Rights Reform
The Annual Proceedings of the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations, Volume IV, 2011-2012
20 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2012
Date Written: 2011
Self-enforcing constitutional constraints provide the means for individuals to discipline government actors. This paper utilizes the theory of polycentric orders as developed by Vincent and Elinor Ostrom to analyze jurisdictional competition as one such self-enforcing constraint. The historical case study of married women’s rights reform in the 19th century is suggested as an appropriate test case for evaluating the feasibility of this mechanism as a means of preserving the self-governing nature of a society. This paper was prepared for the Miller Upton Forum on the Wealth and Well-Being of Nations at Beloit College.
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