Consent or Coercion? A Critical Analysis of the Constitutional Contract

  • Randall G. HolcombeEmail author
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 23)


Humans are social creatures, and any social organization requires an understanding among its members about how individuals in the society interact, what their obligations are to fellow members of society, and what they can expect from others. This understanding is the social contract. The social contract is universal, in that as far back as history can trace, and in every place around the world, humans have always lived in groups and have always worked cooperatively. Constitutions are a formalization of the parts of the social contract that specify what obligations the group compels from its members, and what rights group members are entitled to in return. In contrast to the Constitutional contract, social norms are a part of the social contract that conveys behavioral expectations, but without a formal set of sanctions for those who do not conform.


Social Contract Government Action Constitutional Rule Social Contract Theory Strong Person 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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