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Political leadership, conflict and the prospects for constitutional peace

Jennings, C. (2007) Political leadership, conflict and the prospects for constitutional peace. Economics of Governance, 8 (1). pp. 83-94. ISSN 1435-6104

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The emphasis in constitutional political economy has been that new rules and institutions can be devised that improve the welfare of a society. Given the number of societies that are infected with political conflict and as a result lower levels of welfare, this paper attempts to analyse why we do not see more constitutional conventions aimed at eliminating conflict. The key idea is that expressively motivated group members may create incentives for instrumentally motivated group leaders such that it leads them to choose conflict rather than compromise. Nonetheless, it is not argued that such a peace is impossible to obtain. This leads to a further question, that if such a constitutional agreement could be found, would the expressive perspective alter the conventional instrumental perspective on the sort of constitutional reform that should be undertaken?