Constitutional Garrulity and Social Trust
38 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2013
Date Written: May 29, 2013
A common argument in the trust literature is that high-trust cultures allow efficient commercial contracts to be shorter, covering fewer contingencies. We take this idea to the topic of social contracts. Specifically, we ask whether social trust affects the length and detail of constitutions. Cross-country estimates suggest that national trust levels are indeed robustly and negatively associated with the length of countries’ constitutions. Further tests suggest that deviations from estimated optimal length are negatively associated with long-run development.
Keywords: Constitutional political economy, social trust
JEL Classification: K40, Z13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation