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The Political Economy of Constitution

Pabst, Adrian, Scazzieri, Roberto (2016) The Political Economy of Constitution. Œconomia, 6 (3). pp. 337-362. ISSN 2113-5207. E-ISSN 2269-8450. (KAR id:58958)

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The distinction between constitution, as the set of fundamental normative premises ensuring the cohesion of any given polity, and contract, as the formal covenant agreed upon by the relevant stakeholders in that polity, is central to political economy. This paper outlines a conceptual framework for the political economy of constitution based on the above distinction. Our argument is that constitution in the material sense, that is, as a relatively stable configuration of interests prior to formal arrangements, determines the way in which formal rules and procedures operate within a specific historical context. The paper develops the constitutionalist tradition towards a ‘constitutional heuristic’ that helps to detect feasible organisations of political-economic interests in society. Stratified social systems are rooted in multi-layered connectivity and provide a structure for organising partially overlapping interests beyond purely contractual covenants. This conception of constitution has far-reaching implications for economic policy because it charts a course beyond the dichotomy between consensus and conflict. The political economy of constitution focuses on the multiple interdependencies within the social domain, which give rise to substantive arrangements among stakeholders. This approach enables the identification of policy domains, thresholds and measures congruent with the material constitution of any given society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: Political economy; social interdependencies; overlapping social spheres; material constitution; circumscription of interests; constitutional heuristic; economic policy domains
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science > JC Political theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Adrian Pabst
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2016 15:45 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 12:21 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Pabst, Adrian:
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