Political Entrepreneurship, Emergent Dynamics, and Constitutional Politics

Review of Social Economy, Forthcoming

GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 17-09

31 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2017 Last revised: 5 Jan 2018

See all articles by Alexander William Salter

Alexander William Salter

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business; American Institute for Economic Research

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 4, 2018

Abstract

Constitutional political economy mostly distinguishes between rules and actions, with rules selected prior to actions within those rules. While we accept the coherence of this distinction, we pursue it within an open rather than closed scheme of analysis. Doing this entails recognition that societies rarely exhibit universal agreement about constitutional provisions. Recognizing the incomplete character of constitutional agreement points to the existence of margins of contestation. Along those margins, political entrepreneurship will be active in promoting support for alternative constitutional interpretations. Within open systems of creative and entrepreneurial action, constitutional reinterpretation is continually injected into society. Acquiescence in the presence of power does not imply agreement about its use. Rather, acquiescence means the constitutional contestation becomes an element of ordinary politics and not an activity that is prior to ordinary politics. It also means that emergent dynamics supplements comparative statics as a method of analysis.

Keywords: open systems, political entrepreneurship, constitutional control, crooked timber of humanity, paradox of power, emergence

JEL Classification: D72, P16, P43, Z10

Suggested Citation

Salter, Alexander William and Wagner, Richard E., Political Entrepreneurship, Emergent Dynamics, and Constitutional Politics (January 4, 2018). Review of Social Economy, Forthcoming; GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 17-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2919992 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2919992

Alexander William Salter (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

HOME PAGE: http://awsalter.com

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
334 Enterprise Hall
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

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