Constitutional Design, Self-Enforcement and Alternative Models

Estefanía Campos  | 08 de agosto de 2019  | Vistas: 6

In this lecture, Andrew Young explains how constitutional design works nowadays, the existing alternative models and self-enforcement in development countries. 

Andrew begins describing the functions of a constitution: define institutions through which governance is provided, state the ends towards which government should aim and provide the constraints within political agents act. According to him, economists tend to focus on the first and the third of these. Andrew continues introducing the topic by defining the types of constitutions: De Jure and De Facto. 

Some important questions are, when and how should we be able to change constitutions? When will constitutional rules be self-enforcing? Young explains that developing nations are not liberal democracies, they’re poor because political agents behave badly and providing a mere “parch barrier” will not prevent bad behavior. He concludes that constitutions must be designed such that political agents have incentives to abide by the rules. 

Constitutional designers have to acknowledge that political elites, are going to respond to incentives rather than parchment barriers, which means that they are going to behave well when they gain by doing so".

Andrew describes the characteristics that constitutional design must have and discusses North , Wallis and Weingast ideas from the book Violence and Social Orders. Also talks about the valuable lessons from Buchanan & Tullock (1962) regarding constitutional design, where they highlight a fundamental tradeoff between external and decision costs, and explains widely this proposal.  

Finally, Andrew Young explains alternative models, like the entrenched / spare model and the Unentrenched / specific model.

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