Tom Ginsburg
U. of Chicago



(Friday, 20th May 2011)

Title : The Comparative and Dynamic Analysis of Constitutions

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In recent years, we have witnessed renewed attention to constitutions as key institutions underpinning governance. Constitutions are supposed to be crucial for providing political stability, for protecting democracy, and for undergirding economic performance (North and Weingast 1989). Constitutions have also become a centerpiece of foreign policy, with international efforts focused on their role in rebuilding shattered societies. This lecture will address several questions about written constitutions: how long they endure, how they operate, and the circumstances under which they make a difference for social and political outcomes.


The Endurance of National Constitutions (Cambridge University Press 2009),
Intro available at

On the Evasion of Executive Term Limits, William and Mary Law Review
available at

Constitutional Specificity, Unwritten Understandings and Constitutional Agreement
available at