The Economic Effect of Constitutions? 

A new book published by MIT Press, September 2003 

by Torsten Persson and Guido Tabellini

This book is intended for the scholar or graduate student who wants to learn about a new topic of research: the effects of constitutional rules on economic policymaking and performance. We draw on existing knowledge in several fields: economics, political science, and statistics. In particular, the book builds on theoretical work from the last few years, and it forms a natural sequel to our previous book, Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy, published by MIT Press in the year 2000. While the previous volume focused mainly on theory, the purpose of this new book is uncompromisingly empirical. Taking the existing theoretical work in comparative politics and political economics as a point of departure, we ask which theoretical results are supported and contradicted by the data, and try to identify new empirical patterns for a next round of theory.
The empirical results we present in the book go beyond those in our recent articles and working papers on the same general topic. But there are other reasons why the entire thing is greater than the sum of its parts. We take advantage of the book format to present a more thorough discussion of measurement and methodology than is possible in a single paper. In the end, the empirical picture stands out quite clearly and convincingly, when considering a number of related issues with a similar methodology.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1