Nationhood and Constitutionalism in the Ditch Republic: An Examination of Grotius’ Antiquity of the Batavian Republic

ALEXANDER-DAVEY, E.

HISTORY OF POLITICAL THOUGHT, Volume 38, Number 1

Abstract: The emphasis in contemporary democratic theory and in the history of political thought on the ‘natural rights’ theory of popular sovereignty of Locke, precursors of which are found in the work of Hugo Grotius and others, obscures an important relationship between constitutional self-government and nationalism. Through an examination of the early political writings of Grotius, especially his Antiquity of the Batavian Republic, this essay shows how a national consciousness forged out of memories of native traditions of self-government, and stories of heroic ancestors who successfully defended those traditions against usurpers and tyrants, gives concrete substance to otherwise inchoate theories of constitutional self-government.

Does International Commercial Arbitration Promote Foreign Direct Investment?

ANDREW MYBURGH & JORDI PANIAGUA

THE JOURNAL OF LAW AND ECONOMICS, Volume 59, Number 3

Abstract: This paper explores the role that international commercial arbitration plays in facilitating foreign direct investment (FDI). International commercial arbitration is a system of private commercial law that enables firms to more effectively enforce contracts by allowing them to avoid inefficiencies that arise from domestic courts. As a result, access to international arbitration should foster FDI. To explain the effect of international arbitration on FDI, this paper develops a model to explain the use and effect of resolving international disputes through arbitration. The predictions of the model are tested empirically in a gravity framework. The results of this analysis suggest that access to arbitration leads to an increase in FDI flows. This increase largely occurs through a change in the volume of investment, with a much smaller effect on the number of investment projects. The effect of arbitration is greater for countries with weaker institutions and for larger projects.

Cognitive rules, institutions, and economic growth: Douglass North and beyond

AVNER GREIF &  JOEL MOKYR

JOURNAL OF INSTITUTIONAL ECONOMICS, Volume 13, Issue 1

Abstract:  Douglass North’s writing on institutional change recognized from the very start that such change depends on cognition and beliefs. Yet, although he focused on individual beliefs, we argue in this paper that such beliefs are social constructs. We suggest that institutions – rules, expectations, and norms – are based on shared cognitive rules. Cognitive rules are social constructs that convey information that distills and summarizes society’s beliefs and experience. These rules have to be self-enforcing and self-confirming, but they do not have to be ‘correct’. We describe the characteristics of such rules in the context of a market for ideas, and illustrate their importance in two developments central to the growth of modern economies: the rise of the modern state with its legitimacy based on consent, and the rise of modern science-based technology that was the product of the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment.

Money and the Rule of Law

GLENN L. FURTON & ALEXANDER WILLIAM SALTER

THE REVIEW OF AUSTRIAN ECONOMICS

Abstract: Contemporary monetary systems permit those in positions of authority to exercise discretionary power in the pursuit of monetary policy objectives. We argue there are strong prima facie reasons why this is normatively problematic. Engaging the literature on the rule of law, we argue that a general and nondiscriminatory rule ought to apply to monetary institutions for the same reasons such a rule ought to apply to other important institutions. We recognize that this prima facie case may be overcome by sufficiently strong consequentialist concerns, but show that these concerns are ungrounded: discretionary monetary authorities, both in theory and practice, perform poorly. We thus affirm the importance of the rule of law for monetary policy as a requisite for both non-arbitrary governance and macroeconomic stability.

The Influence of Patents on Science

J. TRERISE

POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY, AND ECONOMICS, Volume 15, Issue 4

Abstract: This paper is a critique of the current US patent system along general consequentialist lines. I present a pro tanto case against it because of its effects on scientific inquiry. The patent system is often thought to be justified (or necessary) because it provides incentives to innovate. I challenge this concern. Economists and legal scholars have spent a good portion of time analyzing particular aspects of the patent system. I here synthesize their work, showing how it amounts to a pro tanto moral case against patents. This is the case even though patents are said to incentivize innovation, its disclosure, and its transfer to interested parties. I explore all of these possibilities, finding them to only weakly (at best) support the institution of patent rights. Juxtaposing this weak case for patents along with various problems that patents cause for science, we find a pro tanto case against our current patent system. To my knowledge, no one has tried to synthesize the various concerns I raise, with particular attention to not only the patent’s system purported ability to incentivize innovation, but also to disclose and transfer technology.

When Civil Society Uses an Iron Fist: The Roles of Private Associations in Rulemaking and Adjudication

ROBERT C. ELLICKSON

AMERICAN LAW AND ECONOMICS REVIEW, VOLUME 18, ISSUE 2

Abstract: Alexis de Tocqueville and Robert Putnam are but two of the many admirers of the countless private associations that lie at the core of civil society. This article seeks to advance understanding of the law-like activities of these associations. Residential community associations and sports leagues, for example, make rules and levy fines on members who violate them. The New York Diamond Dealers Club and the Writers Guild of America, like many other associations, have established internal arbitral panels for the resolution of member disputes. Courts are highly likely to defer to the outcomes of these arbitrations. The article’s central positive thesis, hedged with qualifications, is that a private association tends to engage in social control when it is the most cost-effective institution for addressing the issue at hand. This thesis is used to illuminate some otherwise puzzling associational practices, such as the efforts of the National Football League and other professional sports leagues to control players’ domestic violence off the field of play.

No Progressive Taxation without Discrimination? On the Generality of the Law in the Classical Liberal Tradition

ÅSBJØRN MELKEVIK
CONSTITUTIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY (2016). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION. DOI: 10.1007/s10602-016-9222-x

Abstract: Any liberal theory that would take seriously the question of equality before the law is bound to engage with discrimination-related matters, and so long as one is a liberal one should oppose all discrimination coming from the state. This, however, may be a double-edged sword since many classical liberals have quite readily opposed progressive taxation by invoking its discriminatory nature. Some liberals will therefore conclude that one cannot establish different tax brackets, lest taxation be illiberal. This paper endeavours to refute this assumption. Progression may be compatible with the classical liberal concern for the rule of law, provided legislative discretion on tax-related matters is duly limited by the principle of generality, as well as by a certain standard of reasonable lawmaking. Through a careful distinction between four concepts of differential treatment, this paper demonstrates that progressive tax arrangements do not necessarily discriminate against the well-off, and that it can efficiently fulfill some legitimate classical liberals objectives.