The Veil of Ignorance Project
Louis M. Imbeau (Louis.Imbeau@pol.ulaval.ca)
Steve Jacob (Steve.Jacob@pol.ulaval.ca)
In this project, we want empirically to explore Buchanan's and Tullock's hypothesis to the effect that constitution drafters, because they are uncertain about their future position in society, attend to the interests of the larger number rather than to their own private interests. Adopting a cognitive perspective, we read national Constitutions as an indication of the motivations of the drafters so as to measure the opacity of the veil of ignorance behind which they were supposed to be standing while drafting the constitution. We proceed in three steps. First we formulate a conceptual framework based on power analysis to distinguish three distributions of power that decision-makers want to maintain or modify through their choices. Second we detail a content analysis method that helps us systematically extract the power relations embedded in constitutions as discourse. Third, with the support of several national teams, we proceed to the actual content-analysis of national Constitutions with specific emphasis on validity tests. Fourth, we look for the determinants of the variation thus uncovered. Results will be put together in an edited volume.
Here are the individuals presently involved in the project:
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