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Why Do Countries Adopt Constitutional Review?
Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (2013)
  • Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago
  • Mila Versteeg
The past few decades have witnessed a sweeping trend toward constitutional review. This movement is arguably one of the most important phenomena in late twentieth and early twenty-first century government. Yet the trend poses important puzzles of political economy: Why would self-interested governments willingly constrain themselves by constitutional means? What explains the global move towards judicial supremacy? Though different theories have been proposed, none have been systematically tested against each other using quantitative empirical methods. In this paper we rely on a unique new dataset on constitutional review for 204 countries for the period 1781-2011 to test various theories that explain the adoption of the institution of constitutional review. Using a fixed-effects spatial lag model, we find substantial evidence that the adoption of constitutional review is driven by domestic electoral politics. By contrast, we find no evidence that constitutional review adoption results from ideational and functional factors or international norm diffusion.
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Tom Ginsburg and Mila Versteeg. "Why Do Countries Adopt Constitutional Review?" Journal of Law, Economics and Organization (2013)
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