Reviews

Reviews 102 HOLCOMBE as the United States. External institutions can be designed and implemented by the state, but internal institutions evolve on their own, and cannot be imposed on people. This distinction has a number of implications. Most obviously, Voigt argues that if one is trying to design an external constitution for a nation, the most appropriate constitutional rules will depend upon the internal institutions that characterize the nation. Religious and social institutions, as well as other social norms, vary substantially among nations, meaning that constitutional rules that work well in one nation may utterly fail in another. One cannot design constitutional rules one at a time, because various constitutional provisions interact with one another, so the entire package of internal and external constitutional rules must be evaluated together. However, the internal constitution is probably more important— and more difficult to change—than the external constitution, so any design for an external constitution must account for the internal institutions already in place. Voigt’s emphasis on the importance of internal institutions leads him to a rather pes- simistic outlook for constitutional reform. As the world develops, many nations look to wealthier nations in an attempt to emulate those institutions that have brought http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Review of Austrian Economics Springer Journals
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Publisher
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Subject
Economics; Public Finance; Political Science; History of Economic Thought/Methodology
ISSN
0889-3047
eISSN
1573-7128
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1007867807545
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

102 HOLCOMBE as the United States. External institutions can be designed and implemented by the state, but internal institutions evolve on their own, and cannot be imposed on people. This distinction has a number of implications. Most obviously, Voigt argues that if one is trying to design an external constitution for a nation, the most appropriate constitutional rules will depend upon the internal institutions that characterize the nation. Religious and social institutions, as well as other social norms, vary substantially among nations, meaning that constitutional rules that work well in one nation may utterly fail in another. One cannot design constitutional rules one at a time, because various constitutional provisions interact with one another, so the entire package of internal and external constitutional rules must be evaluated together. However, the internal constitution is probably more important— and more difficult to change—than the external constitution, so any design for an external constitution must account for the internal institutions already in place. Voigt’s emphasis on the importance of internal institutions leads him to a rather pes- simistic outlook for constitutional reform. As the world develops, many nations look to wealthier nations in an attempt to emulate those institutions that have brought

Journal

The Review of Austrian EconomicsSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 9, 2004

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