The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Constitutional Economics

  • James M. Buchanan
Reference work entry


The term Constitutional Economics (Constitutional Political Economy) was introduced to define and to classify a distinct strand of research inquiry and related policy discourse in the 1970s and beyond. The subject matter is not new or novel, and it may be argued that ‘constitutional economics’ is more closely related to the work of Adam Smith and the classical economists than its modern ‘non-constitutional’ counterpart. Both areas of inquiry involve positive analysis that is ultimately aimed at contributing to the discussion of policy questions. The difference lies in the level of or setting for analysis which, in turn, implies communication with different audiences.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Buchanan
    • 1
  1. 1.