The Citizen as Founder: Public Participation in Constitutional Approval
Volume 81, No. 2, Summer 2008
Public involvement in constitution making is increasingly considered to be essential for the legitimacy and effectiveness of the process. It is also becoming more widespread, spurred on by constitutional advisors and the international community. Yet we have remarkably little empirical evidence of the impact of participation on outcomes. This essay examines hypotheses on the effect of one aspect of public participation in the constitution-making process–ratification–and surveys available evidence. We find some limited support for the optimistic view about the impact of ratification on legitimacy, conflict, and constitutional endurance.