Commitment and Diffusion: How and Why National Constitutions Incorporate International Law

43 Pages Posted: 10 Jul 2007  

Svitlana Chernykh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science

Tom Ginsburg

University of Chicago Law School

Zachary Elkins

University of Texas, Austin

Abstract

This paper considers why it is that drafters of national constitutions incorporate international law, a phenomenon that is of growing importance. It argues that designers do so when they need to make credible commitments, and that international law has some unique features that render it attractive as a commitment device. The paper then considers an alternative hypothesis, namely that countries adopt such provisions as part of a process of diffusion, following other country's choices. The paper develops an empirical test of these hypotheses, and finds support for both, suggesting that commitment and diffusion operate in a complementary fashion.

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Chernykh, Svitlana and Ginsburg, Tom and Elkins, Zachary, Commitment and Diffusion: How and Why National Constitutions Incorporate International Law. University of Illinois Law Review, No. 1, 2008; U. of St. Gallen Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2007-07. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=999544

Svitlana Chernykh

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science ( email )

702 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

Tom Ginsburg (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Zachary Elkins

University of Texas, Austin ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

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