Comparative Law: Constitutional Design & the Economy

B748 is taught by S. Williams

This course will explore the ways that constitutions shape the economy. A constitution determines the basic legal structures of a society; those structures, in turn, help to determine whether a country experiences prosperity or poverty, income inequality or distributional fairness, sustainable development or destruction of resources, corruption or integrity in the economic sphere. The course will look at a range of constitutional design elements and the ways that each can affect these economic outcomes. Topics may include: property rights (including customary and/or indigenous property rights), natural resource regimes, anti-corruption mechanisms, development mechanisms, taxation systems, and federal revenue sharing. We will examine the different options available on each topic and the consequences of choosing a particular option for countries operating under different economic, political, and social conditions. The goal is to think systematically and synthetically about the potential to design a constitution to meet the economic needs of a particular society. There will be one take-home final examination in the course.