(DP 2004-13) The Constitution and Economic Progress: When “More Is Less and Less Is More”

Gerardo P. Sicat, Loretta Makasiar Sicat


This study postulates some relationship between the attributes of constitutions – the style of constitutions regarding brevity, coverage, and presence of economic and social guarantees – with economic factors and the economic performance of countries. Utilizing quantifiable measures of these constitutional characteristics, these economic determinants are used to explain the differences in the economic performance of countries. A simple statistical model is set up to quantify this relationship. Expanded coverage and the presence of extensive social and economic rights in constitutions do not guarantee good economic performance. Extensive coverage of constitutional provisions tends to create a downward effect on the level of economic performance. Excessively detailed constitutional style provides a constraining effect on the level of economic performance. On the other hand, competitiveness of the economy, an economic attribute, raises economic performance.

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