Constitutionalizing Leviathan: A Critique of Buchanan’s Conception of Lawmaking

Homo Oeconomicus. Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, Forthcoming

Posted: 1 Oct 2019

See all articles by Daniele Bertolini

Daniele Bertolini

Ryerson University - Law and Business

Date Written: September 19, 2019

Abstract

This article examines James Buchanan’s conception of lawmaking, with specific respect to the institutional features he proposes in order to promote individual liberty. Buchanan’s constitutional framework is based on his perception of the nature of lawmaking and the sources of law. This paper argues that Buchanan’s often implied assumptions concerning the lawmaking process severely limits the theoretical strength of his constitutional framework and ultimately undermines the effectiveness of the institutional promoters of liberty he proposes. More specifically, Buchanan’s rigid legal positivism, combined with his peculiar form of political contractarianism, stifles his view of the sources of law; therefore, he is unable to provide a satisfactory normative account of the complex relationship between the lawmaking process and individual liberty within the constitutional order.

Keywords: Buchanan, Exchange, Constitutional Political Economy, Generality of the Law, Lawmaking, Liberty

JEL Classification: H11, K40

Suggested Citation

Bertolini, Daniele, Constitutionalizing Leviathan: A Critique of Buchanan’s Conception of Lawmaking (September 19, 2019). Homo Oeconomicus. Journal of Behavioral and Institutional Economics, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3456749

Daniele Bertolini (Contact Author)

Ryerson University - Law and Business ( email )

350 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON M5B2K3
Canada

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