Comparative Constitutional Design
If laws are rules that guide our society, then constitutions are the “rules about the rules”: they establish the basic framework of governance and normative principles that other legislation must follow. This class examines the determinants of constitutional content and survival, covering a wide variety of regions and historical time periods. We will focus in particular on three institutional arrangements: the powers of the executive vs. legislature, the electoral system, and federalism. When countries democratize, how much do constitution writers anticipate the effects of different institutional forms? How much does self-interest matter, as opposed to cultural beliefs or international precedence? Does the inclusiveness of the constitution writing process influence their long-term viability? When countries fail, how much is the constitution at fault?