2013 Coase Lecture - Tom Ginsburg, "Constitutions as Products"

Constitutional lawyers tend to study constitutions as sets of legal rules and judicial decisions. But written constitutions are also products, with different design features: they can be more or less detailed, innovative, or ambitious; they can be produced in a more or less inclusive manner; and they can have a short-term expiration date or be designed for the long haul. Why do constitutions differ? Are some designs more effective than others? As the countries of the Arab Spring struggle with constitutional change, these questions are coming to the fore. Using the tools of social science to study constitutions provides new insight into their origins, contents, and effectiveness.

Tom Ginsburg is Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar and Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. This lecture was recorded on February 12, 2013.