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Constitutionalism, Division of Power and Transaction Costs

Niclas Berggren and Nils Karlson
Public Choice
Vol. 117, No. 1/2 (Oct., 2003), pp. 99-124
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30025890
Page Count: 26
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Constitutionalism, Division of Power and Transaction Costs
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Abstract

According to many democracy theorists, there is an unavoidable trade-off between constitutionalism and the need for political action. This paper criticizes that belief. Rather, it argues that a division of power, while sometimes entailing high political transaction costs, can nevertheless be beneficial and that it is not necessarily the case that a division of power does entail high transaction costs. The analysis expands the framework of Buchanan and Tullock (1962). Constitutionalism is thus defended against one of its main perceived deficiencies: its bringing about gridlock. This does not always happen, and when it does, it is often a good thing.

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