The Comparative Constitutional Compliance Database

50 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2022 Last revised: 22 Jan 2023

See all articles by Jerg Gutmann

Jerg Gutmann

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska

University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economics

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: January 21, 2023

Abstract

This article introduces a novel database that measures governments’ compliance with national constitutions. It combines information on de jure constitutional rules with data on their de facto implementation. The individual compliance indicators can be grouped into four categories that we aggregate into an overall indicator of constitutional compliance: property rights and the rule of law, political rights, civil rights, and basic human rights. The database covers 175 countries over the period 1900 to 2020 and can be used by researchers interested in studying the determinants or the effects of (non)compliance with constitutions. Our investigation of the stylized facts of constitutional compliance reveals a long-term increase in compliance, which occurred primarily around the year 1990. The Americas experienced the steepest increase in compliance, but also Africa and Europe improved particularly at the end of the Cold War. Democracies ― particularly those with parliamentary and mixed systems ― show more constitutional compliance than nondemocracies, among which military dictatorships perform the worst. Constitutional design also matters: Constitutions that allow for the dismissal of the head of state or government for violating constitutional rules are being complied with more.

Keywords: constitutional compliance; constitutional economics; constitutional political economy; de jure-de facto gap; governance indicators; measurement of institutions

JEL Classification: H11, K10, K38, K42, O57, P48

Suggested Citation

Gutmann, Jerg and Metelska-Szaniawska, Katarzyna and Voigt, Stefan, The Comparative Constitutional Compliance Database (January 21, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4035701 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4035701

Jerg Gutmann (Contact Author)

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law and Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska

University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economics ( email )

Dluga 44/50
Warsaw, 00-241
Poland

Stefan Voigt

University of Hamburg - Institute of Law & Economics ( email )

Johnsallee 35
Hamburg, 20148
Germany
+49-40-428385782 (Phone)
+49-40-428386794 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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