The Calculus of Consent and Constitutional Design
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The Calculus of Consent and Constitutional Design

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Keith Dougherty
20, Studies in Public Choice
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Using computational models and analytic techniques to relate empirical decision making to normative principles, this book explores connections between constitutional decision making and contractarianism at the constitutional, legislative and electoral levels.
Introduction.- Original Theories and Current Studies.- Clarifying Concepts.- Constitutional Decision Making.- Legislative Decision Making.- Electoral Decision Making.- Conclusion.
Buchanan and Tullock's seminal work, The Calculus of Consent, linked economic methodology to substantive questions in political science. Among the major contributions of their book is a connection between constitutional decision making and contractarianism, a philosophical tradition that proponents believe can give institutions legitimacy. In other words, a major contribution of their book is a clear connection between empirical decision making and normative principles. The current book formalizes and extends their foundational ideas as it attempts to show how economic and philosophical arguments about the "best" voting rules can be used to improve constitutional design. It informs debates about constitutional political economy in comparative politics, democratic theory, and public choice. Political scientists often ask questions about what causes a nation to seek a new constitution, how constitutions are made, and what factors allow for corrupt decision making. The Calculus of Consent and Constitutional Design bridges the gap between normative questions about which institutions are most efficient and fair and empirical questions about how constitutions are formed. This provides a benchmark to help create better constitutions and informs empirical research about what institutions are most likely to succeed.

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