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5IE982 Chapters in Institutional Economics

Související stránky

Constitutionalism and Economy

Professor Dr Suri Ratnapala, Professor of Public Law, T C Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland 

  • 9:15 – 12:30, NB35a

Session 1: Idea of a constitution and why constitutions matter

We will discuss the different meanings of ‘constitution’ focusing especially on the living or ‘economic’ constitution and the philosophical ideal of a constitution. The discussion will stretch from Aristotle’s Politics to Hayek’s Constitution of Liberty.


Suri Ratnapala (2003) ‘Securing constitutional government: The perpetual challenge’, (2003) VIII:1 The Independent Review: Journal of Political Economy, 5-26

Session 2: Constitutional stability – importance of institutional underpinnings

This session will focus mainly on institutional history and theory through the work of North, Williamson, Ostrom et al. Well written and well intentioned constitutions do not always produce constitutional government. We will consider the role of a nation’s institutional history in the achievement and maintenance of the conditions of liberty under law.


D A Harper (2003) ‘Institutions: Rule of Law, Property and Contract’, in Foundations of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Chapter 4, London and New York: Routledge

P J Boettke, C J Coyne and P T Leeson (2007), ‘Saving Government Failure Theory from Itself: Recasting Political Economy from an Austrian Perspective’, Constitutional Political Economy, 18(2), June, 127-43

Session 3: Parliamentary, presidential and Gaullist constitutional models

We will discuss the main features of these three models and give some thought to their relative efficiency. This discussion will provide important groundwork for Session 5.


Suri Ratnapala (2004) ‘Sri Lanka at constitutional cross-roads: Gaullist presidentialism, Westminster democracy or tripartite separation of powers?’ 2003-2004 LAWASIA Journal, 33-56.

Session 4: Separation of powers, the rule of law and economic performance

This session will focus on the nexus between the separation of powers and the rule of law as classically understood and consider the economic importance of stable rules of the game. We will discuss the ways in which the rule of law is promoted by different constitutional systems.


Suri Ratnapala (2011) ‘Separation of Powers: Cornerstone of Liberty under Law’ in Jurisprudence of Liberty 2nd ed, Sydney: LexisNexis Butterworths

Session 5: Representation, voting systems and public choice

This will be a discussion of the different kinds of collective decision making rules in the working of representative democracy comparing different electoral models. We will use the work of Buchanan, Tullock, and Arrow et al in evaluating the systems.


James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock (1999) The Calculus of Consent: Logical Foundations of Constitutional Democracy, Chapter 6 (‘A Generalised Economic Theory of Constitutions’), Indianapolis: Liberty Fund

David Deutsch (2011) The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World, Chapter 13 (‘Choices’), London: Penguin Books

Session 6: Federations, liberty and economy

We will address the range of issues concerning different kinds of federal arrangements and their impacts on economic performance. The moral and economic importance of the principle of subsidiarity will be considered. The session will also provide some groundwork for session 9 on the European Union.


C Mantzavinos (2010) ‘Federalism and Individual Liberty’, (2010) 21 Constitutional Political Economy, 101-118

Suri Ratnapala (2012) ‘Foedus Pacificum: A Response to Ethnic Regionalism within Nation States’ in Future of Australian Federalism (N Aroney, G Appleby and T John eds), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Session 7: Devices for the protection of basic rights and freedoms

Personal liberty, property rights, contractual freedom and related civil liberties are preconditions of market oriented societies. There is healthy debate about how these conditions are secured. In particular, the judicial role in the interpretation of rights charters has come under critical scrutiny in some countries. This session will be a chance to engage with some of these issues.


Hugo Mialon and Paul Ruben (2008) ‘The Economics of the Bill of Rights’,  American Law and Economics Review (2008) 10 (1): 1-60

Suri Ratnapala (2010) ‘Bills of Rights in Functioning Parliamentary Democracies: Kantian, Consequentialist and Institutionalist Scepticisms’, (2010) 34:2 Melbourne University Law Review, 591-616.


Session 8: Constitutional Design: Is Government Necessary?

In this session we will discuss the debates about the nature and role of government. Has modern government overreached its functions? If so, what constitutional failings contribute to this condition?

F A Hayek (1979) The Political Order of a Free People, Chapter 17 (‘A Model Constitution’), London: Routledge and Kegan Paul

Randall G Holcombe9(2004)’Government Unnecessary but Inevitable’, The Independent Review: Journal of Political Economy, VIII(3) 325-42


Session 9: Case Study – EU Constitution blessing or burden?

The European Constitutional Treaty was not ratified but many of its features were implemented by the Lisbon Treaty. Is there a ‘constitution’ of Europe? If so, what are its features? What are the economic consequences of the power structures established by the European Treaties? The session will focus on these and related issues.


Randall G Holcombe (1996) ‘Vibert’s Vision: Constitutional Theory in Search of a Constitution’, (1996) 7 Constitutional Political Economy, 281-291

K Mause and F Groeteke (2012) ‘New Constitutional Debt Brakes for Euroland? A Question of Institutional Complementarity’, (2012) Constitutional Political Economy, Original Paper

Session 10: Case Study – China and Singapore: Long run feasibility of controlled capitalism

China has achieved rapid economic growth by allowing private enterprise and foreign investment while retaining political power in the hands of the Communist Party and Party controlled organs of government. Singapore under the authoritarian rule of the People’s Action Party (PAP) is also seen as an economic success story. Are these systems sustainable? Do they refute classical liberal economic theory? We conclude this course by examining these emerging issues.

S Murugesan, Singapore’s Constitutional Model of Pragmatic Governance – A Study of its Emergence, its Institutional Structure and its Sustainability, Chapter 11, PhD Thesis, The University of Queensland