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Constitutionalism, Division of Power, and Transaction Costs

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Demokrati, Företagandets villkor, Institutionell ekonomi, James Buchanan, Konstitution, Niclas Berggren, Nils Karlson, Public Choice
Constitutionalism, Division of Power, and Transaction Costs
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Abstract

According to many democracy theorists, there is an unavoidable trade-off between constitutionalism and the need for political action. This paper criticizes that belief. Rather, it argues that a division of power, while sometimes entailing high political transaction costs, can nevertheless be beneficial and that it is not necessarily the case that a division of power does entail high transaction costs. The analysis expands the framework of Buchanan and Tullock (1962). Constitutionalism is thus defended against one of its main perceived deficiencies: its bringing about gridlock. This does not always happen, and when it does, it is often a good thing.

Related content: Working Paper No. 3

Berggren, N. & Karlson, N. (2003). ”Constitutionalism, Division of Power, and Transaction Costs.”Public Choice, 117(1-2): 99-124.


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