A New Constitutionalism Revisited

PEGS Roundtable at the 2010 American Political Science Conference

The Committee on the Political Economy of the Good Society (PEGS) is based on the realization that many of the major problems facing today’s societies reflect existing political and economic structures and cannot be resolved without significant changes to these underlying institutional arrangements. Such problems as increasing disparities in economic and political power, environmental damage, welfare dependency, growing bureaucratization, and political alienation can be seen as inherent features of existing institutional arrangements that the institutions themselves help to propagate.

PEGS’ first book A New Constitutionalism: Designing Political Institutions for a Good Societywas published in 1993, with the conviction that something systematic can be said about how political institutions work and can be made to work, how they may be assembled into the large wholes of political regimes, and why some regimes are better than others. This panel will revisit this endeavor for a new constitutionalism—identifying its accomplishments, missteps, and future prospects.

Roundtable Panelists:

  • Stephen L. Elkin, University of Maryland
  • Stephen M. Griffin, Tulane University Law School
  • Paul Dragos Aligica, George Mason University
  • Karol E. Soltan, University of Maryland

Modern Democracy and the New Property

Location: Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association in Boston, MA (room TBA)
Time: August 29, 2002, 3:30 p.m.


  • Gregory S. Alexander, Cornell Law School
  • Elizabeth Bussiere, University of Massachusetts, Boston
  • Linda McClain, Hofstra University School of Law
  • William Treanor, Fordham University School of Law
  • Stephen Simon, University of Maryland
  • Chair: Bradley D. Hays, University of Maryland

With the participation of distinguished scholars, who will also be contributing articles to an upcoming print symposium on “Modern Democracy and the New Property” in The Good Society, the roundtable promises to be an intellectually stimulating exchange on the evolution of democracy and how our legal and political conceptions of property will affect democratic practice.


Citizen Competence and the Design of Democratic Institutions

Washington, D.C., February 10-11, 1995

Panel I: What is Citizen Competence?

  • John Gaventa – “Citizen Knowledge, Citizen Competence, and Democracy Building”
  • Robert Lane – “The Joyless Polity: Contributions of Democratic Processes To Ill-Being”
  • Karol Soltan – “Citizen Competence”
  • Nancy Rosenblum – “Navigating Pluralism: The Democracy of Everyday Life”

Panel II: How to Study Citizen Competence

  • Samuel Popkin – “Causes and Consequences of Citizen Disconnect”
  • Alan Kay – “Deliberative Survey Research to Uncover Citizen Competence and Judgement”
  • Joe Oppenheimer and Norman Frohlich -“Values, Policies and Citizen Competence: An Experimental Perspective”
  • Benjamin Page and Robert Shapiro – “The Rational Public and Beyond”

Panel III: How to Strengthen Citizen Competence

  • Jane Mansbridge -“Does Participation Make Better Citizens”
  • Benjamin Barber – “An American Civic Forum: Civil Society Between Market, Individuals and the Political Community”
  • Frank Bryan – “Direct Democracy and Civic Competence: The Case of the Town Meeting”
  • Harry Boyte – “Beyond Deliberation: Citizenship as Public Work”
  • Elizabeth Gerber and Arthur Lupia – “Competitve Campaigns and Citizen Competence in Direct Legislation Elections”

Panel IV: How to Increase the Effectiveness of Competent Citizens

  • James Fishkin – “Bringing Deliberation to Democracy: The British Experiment”

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