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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Constitutions As Coordinating Devices, Gillian K. Hadfield, Barry R. Weingast Dec 2013

Constitutions As Coordinating Devices, Gillian K. Hadfield, Barry R. Weingast

Gillian K Hadfield

Why do successful constitutions have the attributes characteristically associated with the rule of law? Why do constitutions involve public reasoning? And, how is such a system sustained as an equilibrium? In this paper, we adapt the framework in our previous work on “what is law?” to the problem of constitutions and their enforcement (see Hadfield and Weingast 2012, 2013a,b). We present an account of constitutional law characterized by two features: a system of distinctive reasoning and process that is grounded in economic and political functionality; and a set of legal attributes such as generality, stability, publicity, clarity, non-contradictoriness, and ...


Is Reform Inevitable In Iran? An Evolutionary Analysis, Atin Basu Choudhary, Laura Razzolini, Dixon Josh Jan 2011

Is Reform Inevitable In Iran? An Evolutionary Analysis, Atin Basu Choudhary, Laura Razzolini, Dixon Josh

Atin Basu Choudhary

A persistent, if somewhat violent, reformist movement in Iran has many observers believing that reform is inevitable in Iran. We suggest that such optimism is misplaced. We use an evolutionary game theory approach to a standard assurance game to show that even when the gains to reform are obvious, the reformists may not succeed. We show further that as long as hardliners hold the levers of government they can stymie the success of reformists. Thus, from a policy perspective we believe that a gradual evolutionary path to reformist success is plausible but it depends crucially on the initial proportion of ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz Jan 2011

Collective Choice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

This short nontechnical article reviews the Arrow Impossibility Theorem and its implications for rational democratic decisionmaking. In the 1950s, economist Kenneth J. Arrow proved that no method for producing a unique social choice involving at least three choices and three actors could satisfy four seemingly obvious constraints that are practically constitutive of democratic decisionmaking. Any such method must violate such a constraint and risks leading to disturbingly irrational results such and Condorcet cycling. I explain the theorem in plain, nonmathematical language, and discuss the history, range, and prospects of avoiding what seems like a fundamental theoretical challenge to the possibility ...


Rights Of Inequality: Rawlsian Justice, Equal Opportunity, And The Status Of The Family, Justin Schwartz Jan 2001

Rights Of Inequality: Rawlsian Justice, Equal Opportunity, And The Status Of The Family, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

Is the family subject to principles of justice? In A Theory of Justice, John Rawls includes the (monogamous) family along with the market and the government as among the "basic institutions of society" to which principles of justice apply. Justice, he famously insists, is primary in politics as truth is in science: the only excuse for tolerating injustice is that no lesser injustice is possible. The point of the present paper is that Rawls doesn't actually mean this. When it comes to the family, and in particular its impact on fair equal opportunity (the first part of the the ...


Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz Jan 1997

Relativism, Reflective Equilibrium, And Justice, Justin Schwartz

Justin Schwartz

THIS PAPER IS THE CO-WINNER OF THE FRED BERGER PRIZE IN PHILOSOPHY OF LAW FOR THE 1999 AMERICAN PHILOSOPHICAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE BEST PUBLISHED PAPER IN THE PREVIOUS TWO YEARS.

The conflict between liberal legal theory and critical legal studies (CLS) is often framed as a matter of whether there is a theory of justice that the law should embody which all rational people could or must accept. In a divided society, the CLS critique of this view is overwhelming: there is no such justice that can command universal assent. But the liberal critique of CLS, that it degenerates into ...