Constitutional political economy, democratic theory and institutional design
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Democracy and constitutionalism are both central to the Western political tradition. And yet, constitutional restrictions are often perceived to be in tension with democratic commitments. I argue that the constitutional political economy approach developed by Nobel Laureate James Buchanan resolves the tension between constitutionalism and the values of democratic governance by shifting the analysis from a system-attributes perspective that focuses on the particular institutional properties of a political order to a system-legitimacy perspective that focuses on the manner in which political institutions gain democratic legitimacy. In so doing, the approach reveals that constitutionalism can be understood as a natural expression of democratic values.
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