The Evolution of a Fiscal Constitution When Individuals are Theoretically Uncertain

Posted: 6 Jul 2005

See all articles by Jan Schnellenbach

Jan Schnellenbach

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics; Walter Eucken Institute

Abstract

In contrast to the contractarian approach to constitutional economics, we follow Voigt (1999) in assuming that constitutional rules are closely connected to informal institutions and that their evolution is a matter of interest group activity and implicit re-interpretation. We add to this the assumption of theoretical uncertainty of individuals regarding the working properties of constitutional rules. Collective learning processes are considered as the third driving force of constitutional evolution, and at the same time as the source of path-dependencies which allow suboptimal constitutions to persist. Finally, it is argued that direct legislation offers more protection than a written fiscal constitution.

Keywords: Positive constitutional economics, collective learning, path-dependence, rule-evolution

JEL Classification: K10, H10, Z13

Suggested Citation

Schnellenbach, Jan, The Evolution of a Fiscal Constitution When Individuals are Theoretically Uncertain. European Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 17, pp. 97-116, January 2004. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=753388

Jan Schnellenbach (Contact Author)

BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg, Institute for Economics, Chair for Microeconomics ( email )

Erich-Weinert-Str. 1
Cottbus, 03046
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.b-tu.de/fg-vwl-mikro/team/prof-dr-jan-schnellenbach

Walter Eucken Institute ( email )

Goethestr. 10
Freiburg, 79100
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.eucken.de

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