Comparative Constitution Making
Show Less

Comparative Constitution Making

Edited by David Landau and Hanna Lerner

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of new research on constitution making. Comparative Constitution Making provides an up-to-date overview of this rapidly expanding field.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 7: The constitutional referendum in historical perspective

Zachary Elkins and Alexander Hudson

Abstract

Interest in participatory forms of constitution making continues to grow and with it, interest in the classic means of citizen involvement: the referendum. Many scholars can think of specific examples of a referendum that went notably well or poorly. However, we have to this point lacked a comprehensive historical account of when, how, and to what effect referenda have been used in attempts to ratify constitutional reforms. In this chapter, we introduce a new dataset that includes information about every identifiable constitutional referendum between 1789 and 2016 (n = 644). Some of our findings accord with casual impressions: referenda are increasingly common both as explicit provisions in constitutions and as events, and are much more likely to pass in authoritarian settings than they are in consolidated democracies. One startling finding from these records is that referenda on new (replaced) constitutions are much more likely to pass than are those on amendments. We consider this discrepancy in terms of both elite and popular decision-making. On the elite side, we suggest that leaders are likely to have more control of the process with constitutional replacement than with revision. We also provide some preliminary arguments about how differences in the evaluation of risk may drive voter behavior.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.


Further information

or login to access all content.