What constitutes a constitutional amendment culture?

Danko Tarabar, Andrew T. Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Why are some constitutions amended frequently and others hardly at all? An obvious candidate determinant is constitutional rigidity, i.e., the size and number of procedural barriers to amendment. Given some demand for amendment, greater rigidity implies a smaller supply. However, measures of rigidity often do not correlate significantly (or even with the predicted sign) with amendment rates. Ginsburg and Melton (2015) argue that amendment culture – “shared attitudes about the desirability of amendment” – is a more important determinant of amendment rates. We study up to 128 constitutional episodes from 54 countries and estimate relationships between amendment rates and Hofstede cultural indices. Cultures that are more individualistic and less prone to uncertainty avoidance are associated with higher amendment rates. When cultural dimensions are controlled for, the lagged amendment rate (Ginsburg and Melton's proxy for culture) is not a robust correlate.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101953
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • Constitutional amendments
  • Constitutional design
  • Constitutional rigidity
  • Constitutions
  • Culture
  • Hofstede indices

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