Systemic Feedback through Selection

Adrian Vermeule

in The System of the Constitution

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199838455
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932481 | DOI:
Systemic Feedback through Selection

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This chapter discusses the selection of members of institutions, which themselves comprise the overall constitutional order. The traditional fodder of legal reasoning, and also of economic reasoning about law, is incentives: rules or policies that affect behavior by changing the costs and benefits of feasible actions. However, a recent wave of research in political science and economics has focused on selection, in which behaviour is regulated not through incentives but by choosing individuals with the right preferences or beliefs (right from the selector's point of view). It is shown that constitutional rules produce systemic feedback effects over time, via their indirect consequences on the selection of officeholders. Constitutional rules, that is, can change the pool of actual or potential officeholders in ways that either stabilize or destabilize the rules themselves. A systemic analysis of constitutional law must therefore take such effects into account.

Keywords: systemic feedback effects; constitutional order; selection; constitutional rules

Chapter.  10089 words. 

Subjects: Constitutional and Administrative Law

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