Emergent politics and constitutional drift: the fragility of procedural liberalism

Alexander Salter, Glenn Furton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to integrate classical elite theory into theories of constitutional bargains. Design/methodology/approach: Qualitative methods/surveys/case studies. Findings: Open-ended constitutional entrepreneurship cannot be forestalled. Constitutional entrepreneurs will almost always be social elites. Research limitations/implications: The research yields a toolkit for analysing constitutional bargains. It needs to be used in historical settings to acquire greater empirical content. Need to be applied to concrete historical cases to do economic history. Right now it is still only institutionally contingent theory. Practical implications: Formal constitutions do not, and cannot, bind. Informal constitutions can, but they are continually evolving due to elite pressure group behaviors. Social implications: Liberalism needs another method to institutionalize itself! Originality/value: Open-ended nature of constitutional bargaining overlooked in orthodox institutional entrepreneurship/constitutional economics literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34-50
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018


  • Constitutional bargain
  • Elite theory
  • Formal constitution
  • Informal constitution
  • Politics as exchange
  • Procedural liberalism


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