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The Endurance of National Constitutions

4.75 of 5 stars 4.75  ·  rating details  ·  4 ratings  ·  2 reviews
Constitutions are supposed to provide an enduring structure for politics. Yet only half live more than nineteen years. Why is it that some constitutions endure while others do not? In The Endurance of National Constitutions, Zachary Elkins, Tom Ginsburg, and James Melton examine the causes of constitutional endurance from an institutional perspective. Supported by an origi ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Cambridge University Press (first published September 30th 2009)
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Steven Taylor
Elkins, et al. produces a rather remarkable study that examines the history of national constitutions from the 1780s to the present. The text presents both a theory of constitutions as well as one of constitutional endurance.

The book is one that ought to be in the library of anyone interested in comparative democracy or institutional design.

The text is clearly written and is accessible even to non-political scientists interested in the topic.
Joseph Jupille
Frames up a great question, since constitutions are supposed to be enduring, but not immutable. Basically playing around with a giant dataset they have gathered, exploring questions around endurance. There will be other books using these data, I am sure. I'll see if I can get around to doing a more substantive review at some point.
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