Political Science Publications

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Spring 5-26-2023


American Political Science Association.

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Why are some constitutions amended more frequently than others? The literature provides few clear answers, as some scholars focus on institutional factors, whereas others emphasize amendment culture. We bridge this divide with new theoretical and empirical insights. Using data from democratic constitutions worldwide and U.S. state constitutions, we examine how social capital reduces the transaction costs imposed by amendment rules. The results indicate that constitutional rigidity decreases amendment frequency, but group membership, civic activism, and political trust can offset the effect of amendment rules. Our findings have important implications for scholars in public law, constitutional and democratic theory, and social movements.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Citation of this paper:

Blake, W. D., Cozza, J. F., & Friesen, A. (2021). Social capital, institutional rules, and constitutional amendment rates. UMBC Faculty Collection.

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