Constitutional Design and Public Policy
Leiden Universiteit
 Fall 2003 
Professor Roger Congleton
Suggested Texts:
Improving Democracy through
Constitutional Reform

Kluwer Academic Press, 2003, R.D. Congleton 
The Economic Effects of Constitutions
MIT Press, 2003, T. Persson and G. Tabellini.
Other Readings and References
The Lecture Plan
Lecture 1: Introduction to 
Positive and normative theory, Definition of a constitution, Difference between legal and political economy definitions, Effects of constitutions on public policy, Examples from Sweden.  (See Ch. 1-2 of Improving Democracy [ID].)
Lecture 2: Constitutional Theory: 
The median voter model, proportional representation and coalition governance, majority rule and the "dividing the pie problem."  (See the Median Voter Model and Ch. 5 of ID)
Lecture 3: Constitutional Exchange
The Continuum between dictatorship and democracy, Gains to Trade between Kings and Parliaments,  Tax Constitutions in Early European Monarchies. (See King and Council, Ch. 3 of ID, Brennan and Buchanan (1977), North and Weingast (1989) ).
Lecture 4: Parliamentary Democracy
Parliaments were always representative but were not always democratic.  In what circumstances will parliament expand suffrage? Is there a need for revolution or is constitutional exchange enough? Industrialization and Democracy
Lecture 5: Historic Transformations
An overview of the emergence of democracy in the Northern Kingdoms during the nineteenth century. (Ch. 3, 4, 5 of ID )
No Class: Take Home Exam
(Professor Congleton is off to LSE: Take Home Exam)
Lecture 6: Bicameral Legislatures
and Public Policy
Origins of bicameral legislatures, Biased and unbiased forms of bicameralism, simulated bicameral legislatures The policy effects of bicameralism,The tension between bicameralism and democratic norms, Is the EU bicameral? (Unbiased Bicameralism)
Lecture 7: Federalism and Decentralization
Federal systems can be more or less decentralized. The economic and political case for decentralization. Does the subsidiarity principle apply to national governance? The difficulty of institutional design, menu federalism. (Menu Federalism)
Lecture 8: Referenda and Public Policy    
Referenda as a method of addressing political agency problems, the evidence from Switzerland and the US.
Frey and Stutzer: Direct Democracy
Lecture 9: Treaty Organizations
(Suggested Paper Topics)
(Gains to trade between national policy makers, treaties as Coasian Contracts, political risks from delegation shape international institutions, Contemporary environmental and European examples.  Global Commons, Coercion and Exit within Treaty Organizations
Lecture 10: The New European Constitution
Is the new EU still a treaty organization? Effects of sovereignty on  EU policy making, the democratic deficit, How new is the new constitution?
(Proposed Constitution for Europe)
Final Term Paper Due
 (Please drop it off at my office or e-mail it by 16:30.)