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

The Constitutional Political Economy Approach

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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.
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Chapter 5. An evolutionary perspective on the role of post-socialist constitutions

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Chapter 5.  An evolutionary perspective on the role of post-socialist constitutions

In this chapter we aim to contribute to the research agenda undertaken in this book by incorporating into the analysis of economic effects of constitutions some elements of the view at constitutions from the perspective of Evolutionary Political Economy. As mentioned in Chapter 1, the fact that constitutions are neither everlasting nor exogenous vis-à-vis the political, economic and social spheres, constitutes one of the most important challenges for further development of research on economic effects of constitutions. Systematic studies aimed at explaining constitutional change have recently only began in Constitutional Economics. This field of research could also be of interest to proponents of the evolutionary approach to politics.

Evolutionary Economics and, in particular Evolutionary Political Economy, demonstrated interest in the topic of constitutions as early as in the works of their predecessors, such as Friedrich August von Hayek (e.g. Hayek 1979) or even Joseph Schumpeter (1942/1987)113. Also the problem of constitutional change has received attention from scholars evoking some aspects of the evolutionary approach, e.g. Behnke and Benz (2009), as well as Posner (2011). Other studies of interest offer an evolutionary perspective on legal change in general (e.g. Eckhardt 2004, 2011) or focus on evolutionary theory of politics (e.g. Wohlgemuth 2002). None of them however identifies factors influencing constitutional change with the view towards a comprehensive study of economic effects of constitutions. Considering the constitution in this context reveals,...

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