Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

The Economic Analysis of Constitutions: Fatalism Versus Vitalism

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Abstract

We review the claim that the field of political economy has witnessed a quantum leap with Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini´s The Economic Effects of Constitutions. We find that the approach of Persson and Tabellini suffers from the neglect of previous research, notably in public choice tradition, a lack of a meaningful point of reference, and the disregard of individual liberty as a guiding principle. Their approach has only limited
value for formulating, exploring, and judging institutional reforms, particularly reforms outside narrow bounds around the status quo of the liberal democracies.