What Constitutes a Constitutional Amendment Culture?

42 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2019

See all articles by Danko Tarabar

Danko Tarabar

Winthrop University

Andrew T. Young

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business

Date Written: June 1, 2019


Why are some constitutions amended frequently while others hardly at all? An obvious candidate determinant is constitutional rigidity, i.e., the size and number of procedural barriers (e.g., supermajority approval) to amendment. Given some demand for amendment, greater rigidity implies a smaller supply. However, measures of rigidity often do not correlate significantly (or even with the predicted sign) with empirical amendment rates. Ginsburg and Melton (2015) argue that amendment culture – “shared attitudes about the desirability of amendment” – is a more important determinant of amendment rates. We study up to 214 constitutional episodes from 54 countries and estimate relationships between amendment rates and Hofstede cultural indices. Cultures that are more individualistic and long-term oriented are associated with higher amendment rates, as are cultures that are less prone to avoidance of uncertainty. When long-term orientation is controlled for, the lagged amendment rate (Ginsburg and Melton’s proxy for culture) no longer enters estimations significantly.

Keywords: constitutions, constitutional amendments, constitutional rigidity, constitutional design, culture, Hofstede indices

JEL Classification: K0, P50, P16

Suggested Citation

Tarabar, Danko and Young, Andrew T., What Constitutes a Constitutional Amendment Culture? (June 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3401894 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3401894

Danko Tarabar

Winthrop University ( email )

Rock Hill, SC 29733-0001
United States
(803) 323-2488 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.dankotarabar.com

Andrew T. Young (Contact Author)

Texas Tech University - Rawls College of Business ( email )

Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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