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

Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming

36 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2017 Last revised: 5 Feb 2019

See all articles by Alexander William Salter

Alexander William Salter

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

Justin T Callais

Texas Tech University - Free Market Institute; Texas Tech University, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Students

Date Written: February 3, 2018

Abstract

What is self-governance, and under what sets of institutions is it possible? We 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. We 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 and Callais, Justin, A Theory of Self-Governance: De Facto Constitutions as Filters (February 3, 2018). Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice, Forthcoming. 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

Justin Callais

Texas Tech University - Free Market Institute ( email )

Box 45059
Lubbock, TX 79409-5059
United States

Texas Tech University, College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Students ( email )

Box 42132
Lubbock, TX 79409-2132
United States

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