Show Less
Restricted access

Economic Effects of Post-Socialist Constitutions 25 Years from the Outset of Transition

The Constitutional Political Economy Approach


Katarzyna Metelska-Szaniawska

This book focuses on the nexus between constitutions adopted by post-socialist countries of Europe and Asia after 1989 and economic transition in the region. It takes the perspective of Constitutional Political Economy and argues for the role of constitutions as commitment-enhancing mechanisms for political decision makers in the field of post-socialist economic reforms. For the first time in economic studies of constitutions this book employs the synthetic control method – a novel empirical approach allowing to account for endogeneity and causality issues. The blend of theory (including evolutionary insights) and empirical results allows to formulate recommendations for constitution drafters, emphasizing the role of factual constitutional court independence for successful economic reforms.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 1. Constitutions and economic policy – the theoretical nexus


← 12 | 13 →

Chapter 1.  Constitutions and economic policy – the theoretical nexus

Economic studies view the constitution from different angles. The common feature of these approaches is, however, the treatment of constitutions as certain meta-rules defining the fundamental constraints within which political, economic and social actors make their choices and take their actions (Buchanan 1987). In this context the constitution is viewed as a crucial element of the institutional order within the state and thereby also an important factor shaping the functioning of the society. Based on such general approach economists have developed arguments emphasizing the constitution’s role in, inter alia, conflict-solving and coordinating collective action (e.g. North et al. 2009, Weingast 1993), improving efficiency of resource allocation by establishing property rights protection (e.g. Acemoglu and Robinson 2006), as well as in the distribution of political and economic rents (e.g. Greif 2008).

Taking as a starting point the view of the constitution as a kind of social contract, economists approach its analysis through the lens of: contract theory, treating it as an incomplete contract; agency theory, focusing on principal-agent relationships connected with its functioning; or (evolutionary) institutional economics, viewing it as the result of cultural evolution or a ‘bundle’ of conventions. Notwithstanding many significant differences between these perspectives, their common feature is the attempt to approach the constitution with the use of dynamic models of human behavior.

In this chapter we provide the theoretical background for those economic studies of constitutions which strive...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.