Constitutional Specificity, Unwritten Understandings and Constitutional Agreement

Tom Ginsburg

This short book chapter explores the determinants of constitutional specificity. Treating constitutional texts as coordination devices, it predicts that demand for specificity will increase as a function of audience heterogeneity, political uncertainty, and other factors. It shows that constitutions are getting longer and more detailed over time, and that constitutions in common law countries are longer than those in civil law countries, though not necessarily any clearer.