Ulysses' Bonds:are Constitution-makers Constrained by Mandatory Referendums

Stephan Michel (Universit├Ąt Hamburg)

Abstract: The drafting of a new constitution has special importance after conflicts or during transitions. One of the main conflicts in constitution-making is between the drafters and the citizens with regard to the level of future government constraints. The use of referendums for ratification has been proposed as a tool to constrain drafters and increase the inclusiveness of constitution-making. The model presented here highlights that referendums for ratification can successfully constrain drafters, but do fail in exactly those situations characterized by uncertainty when they are most needed. To support this theoretical result, domestic conflict indicator as a proxy for uncertainty is regressed on constitutional referendum results . The empirical results give some indicative support for the predictions of the model, especially when looking more closely at the failed referendums.


Download the paper