This paper develops the concept of constitutional culture—the attitude, thoughts, and feelings about constitutional constraints and the nature, scope, and function of constitutionalism. Constitutional culture is approached as a complex emergent phenomenon bridging Hayekian cognitive and institutional insights. It can be studied as a mental model, a series of expectations and understandings about the constitutional order, how it is, and how it ought to be. The “map” and “model” approach from Hayek’s Sensory Order (1952) is employed to understand how individuals and (cautiously) groups of individuals at the national level approach constitutionalism. This paper goes beyond the more traditional one-size-fits-all approach where all individuals respond uniformly to incentives, as provided by the constitution qua contract. Instead, constitutionalism is tied up in the individual’s vision of the world, that is, what Hayek (1948) labels “the facts of the social sciences.” The paper concludes with four areas where constitutional culture can further the insights of constitutional political economy: comparative political economy, constitutional stickiness, constitutional maintenance, and the new development economics.
The Review of Austrian Economics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 2, 2009
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