Studies in Public Choice

Constitutional Mythologies

New Perspectives on Controlling the State

Editors: Marciano, Alain (Ed.)

  • First book to focus on the myths about constitutions that perpetuate misconceptions and faulty analysis and policy
  • Includes contributions from experts in public choice and constitutional political economy (including editors of several Springer journals)
  • Features perspectives from economics, political science, and law
  • Comprises of international coverage, with historical and contemporary examples from North America and Europe
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Hardcover $169.00
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Softcover $169.00
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  • ISBN 978-1-4614-2956-2
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About this book

Our societies obviously rest on common beliefs. These "myths" are tools that help us to develop and build common identities; they form the structure around which societies function. This does not imply that these beliefs are “true,” in the sense that they would be supported by empirical facts. In social matters, myths have undoubtedly important functions to play even if no empirical facts support them. On the other hand, and precisely because they are not discussed, myths may be problematic: they may create illusions, conserve structures that are inefficient and unable to improve the situation of citizens. This is particularly true with constitutions. Constitutions are very important for societies: a constitution is a document — even in societies based on “unwritten” constitutions — which binds citizens together, creating unity among them, and which forms the framework within which our activities take place. As Nobel Prize laureate James Buchanan used to say, "Constitutions contain the rules of the social game we play in our everyday life."

However, constitutions are not frequently debated by citizens. This is why we end up with common beliefs about these constitutions: they are above our heads, around us. We take them, their role, function, and nature as given. The purpose of this volume to investigate and challenge common constitutional myths. Featuring contributions from prominent economists, political scientists, and legal scholars, the chapters in this volume address such myths as “constitutions are binding social contracts,” “constitutions are economic documents” and “constitutions are legal documents.” Illustrating their analyses with historical and contemporary examples from the United States, Canada, and Europe, the authors build a multi-layered approach to understanding constitutions and their implications for social and political influence.

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  • Introduction: Constitutional Myths

    Marciano, Alain

    Pages 1-7

  • Consent or Coercion? A Critical Analysis of the Constitutional Contract

    Holcombe, Randall G.

    Pages 9-23

  • Agent Type, Social Contracts, and Constitutional Mythologies

    Boettke, Peter (et al.)

    Pages 25-37

  • Constitutions, Politics, and Identity

    Hamlin, Alan

    Pages 39-51

  • Is the “Veil of Ignorance” in Constitutional Choice a Myth? An Empirical Exploration Informed by a Theory of Power

    Imbeau, Louis M. (et al.)

    Pages 53-69

Buy this book

eBook $129.00
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-6784-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $169.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4419-6783-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Softcover $169.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-1-4614-2956-2
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Constitutional Mythologies
Book Subtitle
New Perspectives on Controlling the State
Editors
  • Alain Marciano
Series Title
Studies in Public Choice
Series Volume
23
Copyright
2011
Publisher
Springer-Verlag New York
Copyright Holder
Springer Science+Business Media, LLC
eBook ISBN
978-1-4419-6784-8
DOI
10.1007/978-1-4419-6784-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-1-4419-6783-1
Softcover ISBN
978-1-4614-2956-2
Series ISSN
0924-4700
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VIII, 180
Topics