Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 108: Social order through constitutional choice: A contractarian proposal

Niclas Berggren ()
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Niclas Berggren: Department of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, Box 6501, S-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract: The present paper consists of two closely related parts: one which outlines a normative criterion for evaluating the legitimacy of constitutional change and one which specifies a particular proposal of a constitution. The criterion used stems directly from the "pragmatic" brand of contractarianism developed by Buchanan, where an approximate rule of unanimity is utilized. The proposal aims at the highest possible freedom of choice for individuals when it comes to defining the political system of their liking: a core (dealing with public goods and rights) is common for all, but everything else can vary between different sub-constitutions between which individuals choose.

Keywords: Constitution; veil of ignorance; social contract; institutional competition; federalism

JEL-codes: D63; D70; H11; H70

31 pages, March 1996

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