Constitution Writing & Conflict Resolution
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The quantitative analysis in the working papers generated by this project use information drawn from an original dataset. You may download an SPSS version of the dataset by clicking on the appropriate link below. The information is updated periodically, and new versions carry higher numbers. Although there is no charge for the use of this information, please note that all material on this site is copyrighted and should be cited as indicated in our copyright page. Please read the data documentation carefully to avoid misuse of the data.

The main independent variable in this study is the character of the constitution writing process. Constitution drafting is an example of what Charles Beitz has called “complex proceduralism.” The process embraces a bundle of distinct rules and procedures. The dataset records over 130 items of information about the rules used in each case in this study, along with contextual information. Note that there are missing values in some of the cases. Additions and corrections are welcome.

The information on the dependent variable, violence, comes from two sources. The PRS Group produces monthly data on internal conflict and military involvement in politics (ICRG Table 3b). This dataset is available for purchase commercially. It is not available through our project. The ICRG violence data omit several countries in the constitution writing study and in some cases the ICRG series does not cover all the dates of interest. We developed a patch for the missing data, using information drawn from Keesings Archive and from Lexis-Nexis news service. The dependent variable patches are available on request. In our view, these data permit reliable comparison of cross-national differences in annual averages. We urge extreme caution in drawing cross-national comparisons of absolute levels of violence.

It is important to emphasize that the information contained in these databases is of a highly formal nature. The project assesses the impact of formal rules and written terms. It does not adequately capture informal political deals, social relationships, acceptance of the rule of law, or highly localized interpretations of constitutional language. In some cases we know that these elements trump the formal rules in importance.

 

 

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