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An Economic Interpretation of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 Revisited

  • Jac C. Heckelman (a1) and Keith L. Dougherty (a2)
Abstract

Empirical studies of delegate voting at the Constitutional Convention have relied on the same 16 roll call votes. This article re-examines various assumptions used in the collection of these data. We first create a baseline regression. We then consider the effect of dropping delegates not in attendance, re-inferring the votes from primary sources, examining various subsamples of the roll calls, and reconstructing constituency variables to include state districts. Our findings suggest that personal interests were indeed important for decision making at the Constitutional Convention, but constituent interests were less important than previously claimed.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Robert E Brown . Charles Beard and the Constitution: A Critical Analysis of “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution.” New York: W. W. Norton, 1956.

Calvin Jillson , and Cecil L. Eubanks . The Political Structure of Constitution Making: The Federal Convention of 1787. American Journal of Political Science 28, no. 3 (1984): 435–58.

Robert A McGuire . Constitution Making: A Rational Choice Model of the Federal Convention of 1787. American Journal of Political Science 32, no. 2 (1988): 483522.

Jonathan Riley . Constitutional Democracy in a Two-Stage Game. In Constitutional Culture and Democratic Rule, edited by John Ferejohn , Jack N. Rakove , and Jonathan Riley , 147–69. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Adam Slez , and John Martin . Political Action and Party Formation in the United States Constitutional Convention. American Sociological Review 72 (February 2007): 4267.

Sidney S Ulmer . Sub-group Formation in the Constitutional Convention. Midwest Journal of Political Science 10, no. 3 (1966): 288303.

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The Journal of Economic History
  • ISSN: 0022-0507
  • EISSN: 1471-6372
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-economic-history
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