A Theory of Self-Governance: De Facto Constitutions as Filters

28 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2017

See all articles by Alexander William Salter

Alexander William Salter

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

Date Written: December 7, 2017


What is self-governance, and under what sets of institutions is it possible? I explore this question from the perspective of informal (de facto) constitutionalism. The dominant approach, grounded in formal constitutionalism, overlooks crucial institutional features that determine whether governance is something done by individuals to themselves, as opposed to something done by some individuals to others. Understanding self-governance requires not only identifying the durable procedures for public decision-making, but also appreciating how these procedures act as filters, which select for the acquisition of political power by individuals with specific and predictable characteristics. I develop a novel constitutional typology based on the structure of political property rights on the one hand, and the kinds of individuals that govern on the other, and use this typology to discover the types of polities most likely to be self-governing.

Keywords: Democracy, Liberalism, Political Property Rights, Self-Governance

JEL Classification: A12, A14, H11, P00

Suggested Citation

Salter, Alexander William, A Theory of Self-Governance: De Facto Constitutions as Filters (December 7, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3084099 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3084099

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

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